Sunday, September 18, 2022

mine and only mine

space door
I've dreaded writing about this because I've treasured this refuge for so long.
But: I'm giving up my writing space, for now.
Reasons. Money. Travel. Not wanting to become stale.
I'll find a new one in 2023 but for now I've been consolidating, moving things, making Goodwill runs.
Last weekend I painted, covered up some garish decor from the previous tenant, took down my ideas cork board, and painted over pencil sketches made by a friend and collaborator a few years ago.
It is satisfying work. But I'm sad. I've spent many hours at my desk here, thinking, writing, sleeping, stalling, drinking coffee, making lists and above all yes--WRITING. At least eight stories and part of a memoir were birthed and labored over here.
I hosted a few pre-funks here, ate vegan food with my boo, stared into Zoom meetings, wished the neighbors next door were quieter.
But mostly I've treasured this quiet, private space, the hours that were mine and only mine.

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

done? or done-done

 With writing, especially fiction writing, I never quite know when I'm done.
"Done." Done-done.
I'm better now at stages, the wild and creative and shaggy rough draft, the first rounds of edits, then letting it all rest for awhile, like a yeasted dough. Something has to ferment in the prose, or my brain, or both. Then the return, another round of edits, and feeling around for threads, that idea or theme that emerges, reveals itself, clarifies everything, making it easy to see what stays, and what is mercilessly (but not unemotionally) excised.
So: rough draft, edits, resting, threads, edits.
And then?
I like to tinker, adding lines, removing them, seeing how they feel and read.
I ask myself questions: did I go deep enough here? Does it all make sense? Have I found something new or meaningful to say or investigate or rage about? Is there a sense of longing, understanding, wanting more?
You know when bread's done, by the baking time and aromas.
With fiction, for me, it's still a guessing game.

Sunday, September 11, 2022

smoketember is upon us

Years of hot summers and smoky forest fires usually mean leaden skies and terrible air by August.
This year the smoke held off until this weekend, but Smoketember is fully here.

smoketember reflection

A grass fire along highway 104 nearly deterred us yesterday from a cabin visit. Two yellow-suited firefighters stood watchfully by as we passed a thin smolder of smoke.

In the parking lot of a grocery store, the sky glowed ashy gray and neon reflected in the premature dusk. My phone blared with an "Imminent extreme alert" from a nearby county, regarding an evacuation order.

imminent extreme alert


Monday, August 29, 2022

that was some weird shit

Last week a friend and colleague from college days organized a work-friends reunion.

I experienced that moment my grandpa always talked about, when he went to a VA reunion of his war buddies and walked up wondering, "Who are all these old guys?" I legit had that thought when one couple approached our patio table. Who are those old people. And then: crap!

It was fun but weird, most of us having lost touch other than the occasional social media stalking. Most of the friends I'm still connected with couldn't make it but I table-hopped and caught up with some fellow snarks and even met a couple new people. One guy with his arm in a sling regaled us with the story of how he broke the arm, which included a kiddie pool, a Wiffle bat, and a trip to Harborview. I also learned a former supervisor and Dave Matthews super-fan passed away last year.

I don't feel like the same person I was when we all worked together but it was good to remember a shared history, raise a glass, and then go the heck home.

Saturday, August 27, 2022

what I'm watching (and wowza)

Movie time!

Yesterday I watched "Prey," a "Predator" prequel and a thrilling, economically told story. Watching Naru, a young Comanche woman, fight Predator of course, as well as French Canadian trappers and the scoffing of her brother and his warrior friends is a real treat. I had a writerly appreciation for the script, which sets up layers of detail and meaning that pay off later on in the movie without being too heavy handed. The overall theme--the impending eradication of native tribes--and the drum soundtrack are both haunting.

Other movies:

--"Plan B," about two young women in South Dakota trying to acquire Plan B within 48 hours of an oh-shit-sexual encounter, has a wry and funny vibe that reminded me of the Harold and Kumar movies. The story sags in the middle but mostly I enjoyed it, due to the strong female characters and sometimes sharp script.

--"Some Kind of Heaven," a documentary focused on several retirees at "The Villages," a community in Florida. Boomers gone wild in a way, with one old guy looking for a sugar mama, another getting caught with cocaine. Interesting and kind of sad.

--The new Dr. Strange. Don't waste your time. What a bloated mess. Ugh.

Saturday, August 20, 2022

the heat

The heat this week was nearly too much.

We had a couple days in the 90's, which ain't great in the unairconditioned PNW, but the kicker was the two nights where the temps stayed in the 70's. Impossible to cool your living space, even with an ancient window unit. It felt like living in a stinky sock. By the end of day two, I felt distraught. Just sweaty and tired and breathless. Fortunately, Metro buses are air conditioned to the point of feeling like walk-in freezers, so I hopped aboard and cooled off briefly. 

Yesterday it rained and although it's still humid, I wept with relief.