Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Where It's At

Eight-year-old Olivia's drawing of me on book tour.

I sent out the first draft of my memoir to several writer-friends who will generously provide feedback. One already sent me a message that so far she thinks it's "fan-fuc*ing-tastic."

That's encouraging!

I'm sure my friends will have suggestions that will improve it. That's how much I trust this group, my tribe. I've read a lot of their work over the years too, in unfinished and finished forms. I've taught some of their work in my classes. It's a wonderful thing having a tribe.

Dave says "first draft" is a misnomer because I've re-read the whole thing a few times, smoothing out the sheets, adding and omitting and refining. Plus, I read it aloud to him.

He was very helpful. He could hear when I'd repeated a word, or used a clunky one. He also corrected some details and asked me questions that helped me dig deeper.

I wasn't sure he'd want to hear the whole book because there's some raw stuff in there.

A friend of mine asked him if hearing so much about my past bothered him. He said, "No. I have a past too." In fact, we are grateful that the past made us what we are now. 

Besides, he's proud of me. He thinks it's a good book.

My friend said, "He's a rare guy. Most guys wouldn't want to hear all these things." I wonder if that's true? I wonder how others have felt about their spouses' memoirs?

Dave has given me a gift, encouraging me to be true to myself . My mom gave me a similar gift years ago, telling me to never worry about what she might think of my writing. That's in the memoir. My working title is: The Footholds Will Appear: An Odyssey of Love, Sex, Spirit and Travel.

Soon we will be back in the Bay Area briefly, sorting through the remains of our things. I don't know what to do with the two boxes of journals--written from ages 8-51--that have been sitting in the dark for so many years. Now that I've written the memoir, they feel superfluous. I'm not a fan of re-reading my journals, anyway. Writing stuff down supports my creative process. I don't have to revisit them.

As I wrote the memoir, I combed through last year's journal--and now that journal also feels like old news. I've thought maybe I should ritually burn them to set the past free. Or have a party where everyone reads pages aloud at random before I toss them.

I've already started a new journal. It has a purple cover and beautiful, blank pages ready to be filled with the future.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Thank You for Everything, Tahoe

Once again, the end of an era nears. After four months in Tahoe, we leave soon. That's the life of nomads: embracing change.

Even though it's the end of April, this morning looked like this:

 And it's still coming down. Who knew we'd be gifted a few more ski days?

During our time on the west shore, I finished the first draft of my memoir. It's tentatively titled The Footholds Will Appear: An Odyssey of Love, Sex, Spirit and Travel.

The title comes from these lyrics by Hot Buttered Rum, words about trusting in the journey:

We could fall away from here 
But I have faith that the footholds will appear…

Speaking of that band, they played a free show at a local ski resort. We danced for hours in the fresh air with our friends.

Those friends were among many visitors who have come to stay with us. We had a blast teaching our friends' kids how to ski.

Dave and Johnny

I became fast friends with eight-year-old Olivia. We skied together, and she drew a charming array of pictures of me involved in a zillion different activities! Although if you look closely, you can also see one of Dave swimming with dolphins.

In addition to lots of skiing...


Scott and Nikki

Kelly & Terry

Elise, Steph, Nevin & Daddy

 ...everyone enjoyed the hot tub...

...and walks in the forest and along the lake.

Mel and me

Nevin, Lilly & Jimmy

Dave demonstrating the fine art of rock skipping.

Several times, we took the hike up to Eagle Rock. It was a great family adventure.

K-Shak family from So Cal

MO-minksys, also from So Cal
In Tahoe I've also been coaching writers online. After years of being a writing teacher, I'm especially enjoying giving feedback without grades!

One of my clients is a doctor. She has a great way with juicy details. Nothing like time in a hospital to gather great material. Recently she wrote this to me:

I appreciate your kindness in delivering constructive tips. I think I was a bit terrified to open the files and read your response. In fact, it turned about to be enjoyable and totally pain-free! I found myself comfortable hearing your advice and even wanting more! The suggestions are fantastic and leave me with much to think about and practice.

I smiled over the idea that someone who regularly deals with life and death situations had been "a bit terrified" about my feedback! I think that means she cares a lot about writing. It's a pleasure to work with her. I'm certain her work will be in book form in your hands one day.

I'm sure mine will be too--hopefully by next year. Soon I will be sending out my manuscript to five writer friends. I know they will all give me great tips for revision. For at least a month, I won't look at the book so I can come back to it with fresh eyes.

In the meantime, I will cherish these last days in the mountains. Next up: California, Hawaii and Utah National Parks. Keep shining your light, everyone!

with Lola