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November 2011

And now ….Give it up for Thérèse

Outside my office window, a palm tree is swaying in the breeze. The sky is violet blue. A tiny hummingbird is hovering on the hedge. It’s heaven. It’s California. It’s home. I’m hunched over my laptop desperately searching for words that like the bougainvillea on the garden wall will tumble effortlessly onto the page.

Ah! So now we have something. “Words tumbling effortlessly.” How lyrical. That doesn’t sound like the mood I’m in at all. If I were not sending this to the Fiction Studio blog, I’d have used a selection of words that would come tripping off my tongue with an eloquence rarely expressed outside of stream of consciousness writing.

I’m still not sure when it’s okay to use the “F word.” I’ve been told that for a writer it shows a lack of creativity. Frankly, I think it’s incredibly versatile as in “The f*cking f*cker is f*cking f*cked.” But this is America and you say “freakin’” when I say “tomato.” (Not quite right, but you get my drift.)

Anyway, the thing is, I am f*cked; frozen in the headlights and too far down the road to turn back. I’ve agreed to do a public reading of my writing. I’ve dreamed of a moment when a circle of avid readers will sit at rapt attention as I turn the page. I’ve even imagined entertaining a couple of stragglers come in from the cold to a little independent bookstore. But for my first-ever public foray, I agreed to read in a bar room setting not unlike the Comedy Club.

My photograph is on a poster next to an array of experienced performers all champing at the bit to get back on that stage at – Seven and a Half Minutes of Fame. They have guitars, they have routines, they tell jokes, they sing. They rehearse. They have one-liners at their disposal for hecklers. They’re slick. They’re American. This is California; they all want to be discovered. They deserve to be discovered.

So I am trying to come up with an entertaining introduction. But all I can hear in my head is F*ck, f*ck, F*ck.

Which Way Is Up?

Americans are all born with internal compasses. If you want proof just ask directions from any American. In LA it goes something like this –

“So how do I get to your office from here?” (Me, desperately hoping this will not involve a freeway.)

“Go North on Wilshire, take Bundy south for two blocks, turn east on Sepulveda, west on Barrington and our office will be on the north side of the street.” *

Now this confuses me for a couple of reasons. First, why is the office in the future tense? Surely the building ‘is’ already on the north side of the street. Second, when I finally get out of the car, where is north? How do I know for sure? Do I just somehow sense it?

And how come if the earth is round we aren’t all clinging to the edges? Okay, I may well be clinging to the edges, because as I write, a lovely man from Rota Rooter is clearing out the drains of our house (which is on the middle of the street, on the left if you have turned right on the cross street and on the right if you have turned left.)

This is because yesterday I read an article about Feng Shui, the ancient Chinese art of placement, which made it abundantly clear that a blocked drain is a very bad thing as it symbolizes blocked finances.

I have no clue if our drains are blocked, or where they are, but as my book is about to be published I am taking no chances. Guess I have a better understanding of things mystical than physical.

* Don’t try this, I made it up by way of example and you might end up on the freeway, or in the ocean. Not sure which would be worse.