Star Struck

Dear Holy Writing Spirit,

Please let me not trip over my words tonight.  Please take the marbles from my mouth and the lead from my tongue.  Grant me patience both with myself and with “The Process”. Guide my hand with the pen, and turn my ears towards your messengers.   Allow me to be a conduit for your writerly grace and to know a glottal stop when I see one . Imbue me with perfect diction and let my hands lay down by my sides, lest they pinwheel about my wrists in nervousness. Forgive my overuse of elipses, cleanse me of the sin of starting sentences with “and”, and deliver me from clichés,

Now in the hour of your finest performance,


This is the prayer I recite every Tuesday night.  Every night now for three weeks, I have sat around a table, along with a dozen other students, with one of my literary heroes.  I have made it seem like it’s all cool to be sitting five seats from my literary hero and reading my writing out loud, but it is not cool, people. No, it is not cool at all.  It is an anxious, sweaty- palmed affair in which I bend the corner of my papers back and forth in anticipation of having to speak I am so nervous.  And why?  Because the combination of being in the same room as one of my literary heroes AND the pressure I’ve put on myself to make this class THE CLASS to END ALL CLASSES and to make me finally write that book is making my head implode. I have to consciously remember to breathe.  I have to remember to be calm and to breathe and that hey!  The instructor puts his shoes on one at a time just like the rest of us!

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A Visitor

I had an unexpected visitor this week.  The little girl I used to babysit- on the east coast, in Irvington, NJ- was here, in Seattle, and sleeping on my office floor. She was on a road trip- a soul journey- the kind we all should take from time to time to sort out what’s next for us and what’s important to us.  I’ve taken my share of those, so I was SO excited to finally play the role of hostess to someone on a journey like that.   

Not that Eliana really needed any sort of sagely advice from me, or a soft place to land, exactly.  You know you’ve both grown up in a hard place when you offer your guest an air mattress and she insists on sleeping on the hard ground because, y’know.  We grew up in Irvington.  What’s a little hard ground? In addition to being a damned good roadtripper, this young woman is also an accomplished musician, a fabulous cook (she makes a mean veggie scramble), and downright delightful company.  We talked long into the night and laughed about all sorts of things (not the least of which was the most monotone, eyes-glazed-over, culty happy birthday song either of us had ever heard at one of the Sri Chinmoy eateries here in town).

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Why My Next Tattoo Would Be An Apology

I should just start every damned entry here with : Wow.  I can't believe how long it's been since I last wrote. I am SO sorry.

If I could have a t-shirt made, or maybe a tattoo put on my arm, it would help diffuse a LOT of public awkwardness, especially about this blog.  It would be a handy catch-all tool, y'know? Like, if I ran into someone in the supermarket who wanted to know when I was going to post something else on my blog?  I would just smile and point to my t-shirt. If I received a text from friend who asked, didja get that thing I sent ya? I'd shrug, take picture of the tattoo, and hit "send". Done.

Procrastination has been the name of my game and I've been a champion at it.  I should have a gold medal in putting things off.  Like, every time I think I'm going to finish something, I wonder what's in the fridge. Oooo! Maybe there's some peanut butter in there...

Like all procrastinators, I have really, really good excuses.  Like... I've been busy! Cleaning my house! And organizing my office!

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Thailand, Day 1

What an inglorious two weeks, huh ?  I had this whole post ready to go, and then Boston happened.  Man.  It hit me hard, in the way that these things do.  I have this hang-up about posting really goofy, possibly frivolous stuff in the midst of national tragedies, and it’s happened twice now in the past year; first with Hurricane Sandy, and now with the Marathon bombing.  I had this post more or less ready to publish , but I felt conflicted about doing it last week.  The sun has been out for TWO WHOLE DAYS here in Seattle, so I’m chalking it up to some kind of “sign” that the air is clear to post slightly neurotic recaps of vacations to hot places. 

I’m back from Thailand!  Thailand? Yes, Thailand!   I went to Thailand for my honeymoon! Your  honeymoon? Yes, my honeymoon!  I went to Thailand for my honeymoon! With no planning and no reservation!  Um, what?  You didn’t plan your honeymoon?  Nope!  I just packed a bag and went!  No reservation!   Like Anthony Bourdain, but with way less leather jackets!

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On Writing

Recently, I had my ass handed to me by my writing group. It was a good thing, this ass-handing.  It didn’t feel quite as nice as being handed a bouquet of roses and a Grammy, but, it was probably more valuable. 

What happened was this: I brought in a VERY rough draft of a book chapter I’d written and I read it aloud to my writing group. I then got some VERY valuable feedback.  Feedback that made me reconsider whether or not I should be calling myself a writer.

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