Sunday, May 24, 2015

Joy of Writing

Yesterday two friends from my former writing group at the Lafayette Community Center trekked up.
For over eight hours we alternately wrote, ate, or caught up in each other's complicated lives (theirs, not mine although I bragged a bit about all my activities on the Oakmont site.)
Such delight. First we each rewrote an old story, then critiqued it. Then we wrote a new story, and did likewise. Lastly we wrote a story about our own writing. That was a novel idea. Here's my effort.
It's curious to me that I can't write fiction for indeed I love reading fiction. I've puzzled a lot about this, since I am not without imagination, and express myself creatively in painting, gardening, photography, and general mischief making. In fact my friends would say that imagination is the essence of me. And yet when putting words to paper all that comes out is fact (sometimes slightly exaggerated, I confess). 
Why can't I just make up a story from scratch? Perhaps it is just that I have lived so long and have so many untold stories brewing in that word repository inside me? Or is it possible I have some kind of fiction block? 
I tend to write about whatever is brewing for me. Usually it is something stewing on my mind. Something with a kind of discomfort or tension, and once I write about it I feel an immediate sense of relief. Yes, relief is the right word to describe the feeling. It's almost but not quite orgasmic at times. I feel pleasure and fulfillment. Sometimes I feel tickled. Sometimes I feel amused. At times I feel resolved. I don't think my style leads to improving my ability to write, extends my limited vocabulary, or contributes anything significant to the world, but it fullfills me. 

Besides all that, what fun to share my day of joy with you. 

Monday, May 18, 2015

Go West, Old Lady

Back in 6th grade (about 1942) a new teacher came to our Seattle elementary school, staffed in general by kindly but stuffy old schoolmarms. Miss Johnson was full of innovative ideas, one of which was to have the whole class recite each day a poem that started "If you can't be a tree on the top of the hill, be a bush in the valley; but be the best little bush....something, something, something."  I'm sure it was intended to make the less high achieving students feel better about themselves. We all adored Miss Johnson, but worried that her chubby legs were the deterrent to her finding a husband.

So, since my problematical heart now prevents me from going to the hills, I'm trying the seashore, my vacation investment for the year
with the goal of producing the best watercolor waves of anyone around.
So, with friend Nancy from Denver, I set out last week for a trek up the coast. I had heard of Mar Vista, in Anchor Bay (about two hours drive North) from Lee's cousins. It is a hoot! Very old but clean cabins are spread around the generous acerage. The spongy ground cover is carefully mowed. Spare blades of grass are manicured by Lola the goat, who took a fancy to Nancy.
 Instead of a golf course, the featured attraction is an estate like chicken coop. The weather was perfect, and for three days I dug my Tevas in the sparkling sand. (Friend Nancy tackled the 100 steps to the beach; Bonnie drove around.)
At Mar Vista one finds two baskets in each cabin, the larger for picking vegetables from the extensive organic garden, and the smaller for fresh eggs, multicolored of course. I accomplished little painting, but I did thrive with the sea air. The whole experience is a treasured memory.
Above, the view from cabin #9.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Persimmons to Chuck

At my urging this afternoon, Steve allowed me to accompany him to the mortuary to make arrangements for his partner Chuck's cremation. I didn't want him to go alone. I'm guessing  Chuck will leave us tonight or tomorrow. Yesterday when I saw him he opened his eyes a crack and tried to mouth "I love you". Today he is in a much deeper coma.
We picked out the cheapest mortuary in the list provided by the Hospice nurse. Entering the long driveway I noted it was a circular driveway."What is this?" I chuckled, "Drive through cremation?"
Chuck is  87, but Steve is about fifteen years younger, and their beautiful life together has exceeded 43 years. Pretty special. I met them shortly after I moved here because I was longing for persimmons to make my famous persimmon bars, and their back yard sports two trees. I never met a sweeter, kinder, or more intelligent couple. Chuck fell in love with my persimmon bars, and  ever since I have treated him when I made them. I wish I had done it more. Chuck was a writer all his life, and what a spinner of tales.
I'm very sad to see this sweet, sweet man leave this planet.