Friday, March 30, 2007

By now most of us know that becoming acquainted with someone online is no guarantee that you will like, respect or want to be within a five mile radius of that person in the flesh. So it was a truly great day yesterday when I got to have lunch with Stephanie Anagnoson, whose comments regularly grace my blog. She was on her way home from a long business trip and made a special stop on the way just to meet up with me.

Stephanie and I first became acquainted through Zoetrope Online Writer's Workshop and over the course of the past (she thinks five) years, we've become writing buddies, exchanging ideas, novels and occasionally, complaints about the publishing industry.

What I like about Stephanie, other than the insightful posts she puts up looking into spiritual methods for coping with work and other situations, is that she is who she purports to be. If you read her blog and you meet her in person there won't be some wild disconnect, some sense that she's been lying/withholding/presenting you with a persona. I also like that she's opinionated in my favorite way--that is, she's not afraid to have opinions. I can be a little wishy/washy co-dependent--afraid to say what I think for fear of causing conflict, always giving people another chance until long after they deserve it. So I admire this trait in others.

It was cool.

Thursday, March 29, 2007


Yesterday was my sister's sixteenth birthday. This makes me officially twice her age. What's more, I remember the day, because she was born at home to my Dad and stepmother, and I was there. I saw it (a fact she is not too keen on the older she gets)--partly traumatized, and partly thrilled. I always tell her this detail: I was overwhelmed by the experience and she was so little, I had this actual thought: "What if they put her down and lose her somewhere in the house?" She laughs and thinks I'm weird.

At sixteen, my sister is far more graceful and together than I was (at least what she shows/expresses--I have no idea what her undercurrents look like). I was a mess on just about every level at her age and there was no hiding it. I broiled with resentments I couldn't even articulate at my parents; I was battered by hormones and had put on a lot of weight and hated my physical self. This was knee-deep in my "gotta be different" phase where I dyed my hair shocking red, wore babydoll dresses and flourescent tights while the fashion of the day were color coordinated ensembles from Macy's and the Gap. I had a lot of friends, but one "best" friend--Kelly--and our relationship mirrored the wild tangents that our friends with actual boyfriends had. I was cranky. I slept a lot. I wrote scads and fantasized about movie stars.

I don't know what my sister's interior life is like, but I know she has a secret side; we all do. I do know that she wants to be a doctor or nurse, both because she likes medical procedures and for the money. She is committed to horse-riding. She is getting her driver's license next week. She likes Juicy Coutoure clothing; Jack Johnson & Ben Harper music, and shows like Grey's Anatomy and CSI. She reads books based in reality, not fantasy, and has never had much of an attention span for movies. She's very easy to make laugh, and like a good member of the Rosenfeld clan, a fart joke is all it takes.

Not to get all tragic now, but I grew up without siblings--I was almost 15 when my brother was born. In the bad years, when my Mom was actively drinking and my Dad was...doing what he did...I dreamed of having a sister. I really did. In lieu of one, I sought out older women to be my big sisters. I never figured that I might be the big sister. I don't have any clue what I mean to my sister, except that she seems to want to be in touch with me. She calls and emails, and now that she can drive, who knows how things will change.

Just to show what a sap I am, I called and left her a musical birthday song on her cell phone (recorded, not my own singing), and afterwards, I started to cry. Why? What is it about her turning sixteen that hits me so hard?

I think it comes down to this: After years of feeling alone, and believing I would always be, my siblings are a reminder that I am far from it. That I'm connected. That I have kin.


Wednesday, March 28, 2007

In a lovely bit of synchronicity, my dear friend (and I really mean "dear"'s not some epithet to make us sound like better friends--she's my tried and true buddy) and fellow writer Christine Falcone happened to be pondering failure, too. She wrote this, in her usual visceral, powerful way, and gave me permission to post it here:

Where does failure come from? Where does it live? Is it in the bones? Can it be measured like the loss of bone density? Is it something we find behind the eyes, the blue or brown irises of our friends and families? Does it harbor regrets? Take prisoners like the hostages in Iran? Why does a sense of failure make us wish we were dead? Make us want to crumple to the ground and crawl around on our knees, arms outstretched like beggars on a San Francisco street corner.

Where does failure come from? It seems to arrive like a text message, the cell phone of our soul suddenly lighting up with a chime, alerting us that once again, we’ve not measured up. Or even worse than a text message, it’s like a large, well-lit road sign, a big screen TV at a baseball game announcing to all who surround it that not only have we once again failed to measure up, but that on a deeper level, a level that’s more profound, a Rosetta Stone of who we are, that we never did measure up. It’s a fundamental sense of failure, like an infection we live with, an HIV sort of condition that haunts us, taunts us, jeers from the sidelines, cruelly testing our convictions about ourselves. It’s something that dwells in us, surrounds us, is excreted by those of us who feel like failures walking around in the world, masquerading as real people.

I don’t want to feel frightened, fatigued, resentful and desperate for escape. I want to simply give up sometimes, throw myself over to the raw force of it all, lose myself and dissolve like cotton candy in the rain. Maybe that’s what it’s all about: death of the ego, surrendering my illusions, what I believe “should” and “shouldn’t” be. Maybe by surrendering those things, I’ll feel like I’m failing, but maybe it’s a necessary failure along the road to my own redemption.

Christine Falcone's fiction, non fiction and poetry have appeared in several anthologies, print and online publications including Women's Voices, Artists' Dialogue,, and Her work has also aired on KRCB's Word by Word: Conversations with Writers, which was the recipient of a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Aside from writing, Christine has also worked in documentary film production and is an associate producer of The Last Stand, an award-winning documentary. Christine lives in California, with her husband and their 3-year-old daughter and is currently working on a novel.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

"The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct acting from inner necessity. The creative mind plays with the object it loves." --CG Jung

I love it when I find a quote that validates something I already feel.

Monday, March 26, 2007


From the book Art & Fear by David Bayles & Ted Orland (a must read for any artist/writer):

"Talent, in common parlance, is 'what comes easily'. So sooner or later, inevitably you reach a point where the work doesn't come easily, and Aha, it's just as you feared!

Wrong. By definition, whatever you have is exactly what you need to produce your best work. There is probably no clearer waste of psychic energy than worrying about how much talent you have--and probably no worry more common."

Over the next couple posts and probably in general I plan address issues of fear, failure, struggle, worth, value and how they relate to art. My art is writing. I notice a cringing feeling inside me as I write that. I feel like I'll be punished for calling it that. Laughed at. Called pretentious. Or worse, someone will read something I've written and call me a fraud.

It has finally become clear to me that I'm in a kind of spiritual choice-point (I hate the word crisis) with my writing. I can either see it as a means to a financial end only, toiling and frustrated and self-loathing, allowing the voice of my grandfather ("don't get your hopes up") to speak in the back of my mind...or I can rethink my relationship to it, stretch myself, find out what's undearneath the fear of failure, see it as sustenence and vitamins and soul-nourishment. I can even fail gracefully, and then get up and try again.

One of the messages I seem to be getting over and over is: there's no such thing as ultimate failure. You don't get only one chance at anything. You can't "fail" permanently and continuously. I mean, I suppose if you kill yourself or someone else, you might. And if you sabotage yourself and reach for failure--sure. But in general, if you write a shitty draft; if you act out of laziness; or get feedback that you need to start from scratch; if you misunderstand the vision; or totally lose the point in really can try again. Sure, maybe you lose a client/money/hope/...but not the chance to keep making art.

I'm really interested in the manure right now--the product of failure. The doubt, self-loathing, the proof that many of us fear will turn up any second if we don't keep up the act proving we really do suck. And for some of us, the frightening realization that there is relief in failure. That it means we don't have to be better than our family/friends/teachers. We can be satisfied living below our potential.

I'm not there yet, but I'm finally, after quite a long struggle full of denial, listening. Okay failure: what do you have to teach me?


Sunday, March 25, 2007

I meme it

I wasn't formally tagged for this meme...but I found it at Novel Nymph's website and so I tag any and all of you. It's a cool one. If you do it, post your link in my comments:

1. Go to Wikipedia, and type in your Birthday--month and day only.
2. List 3 Events that occurred that day.
3. List 2 important Birth days.
4. List 1 Death.
5. List a Holiday or Observance. (if any)
6. Tag 5 other bloggers.

August 30 (Lots of battles began on my birthday...hmmm)

1574--Guru Ram Das becomes the fourth sikh Guru Master
1963- Hotline between US & Soviet leaders goes into effect (Hey Nikki, it's Lyndon. I have something important to ask you: Is your refrigerator running?)
1984-The Space Shuttle Discovery takes off on its maiden voyage (what do they call it after the maiden voyage? The 'dirty slut' voyage?)

Birthdays (I couldn't stop at 2, there were too many cool ones)

1797- Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (writer)
1930- Warren Buffet (moneybags)
1944- Molly Ivins (political humorist...recently deceased--a pity)

2006--Naghib Mahfouz, Egyptian writer. Bummer.

August 30th is the International Day of the Disappeared. How wild is that??

Friday, March 23, 2007

Row, Row, Row

Being a freelance writer is tough. It's not the kind of thing most people set out to do (or do so with erroneous visions of "free time" floating in their cubicle-bound minds). I'm lucky to support myself as I do. And I'm lucky to have a few friends in the same boat...some in bigger, better-built boats, some in roughly the same small, but sturdy boat as my own, and some whose boats went from dinghies to yachts in lightning speed. I would not be where I am without the support, leads, encouragement and sympathy of these people. You have to be a strong rower on your own, but you get further when you row together (wow, this boat metaphor is really spinning out of control--you'll see where I got the inspiration).

Every single writing-friend I have had or do have has offered me support and I send great waves of gratitude to them for that, and return it in any way I can. In the freelance world you can either hoard or share leads among your comrades. I can't blame anyone for hoarding--you did the work to get the source after all--but I've come to learn that the more fluid you let go, the more comes back. The key for me is never to ask of someone anything I wouldn't give in return. I credit my friends in huge measure for my success.

For instance, I record book reviews on a near-monthly basis for KQED Radio's weekly news magazine The California Report. This came about because my friend Colin Berry one day emailed me and told me they were looking for people with a little literary and radio experience. A little was exactly as much as I had and I was scared because it seemed "bigger" than me. I balked. Then he nudged me again some months later. They were still looking. At last I emailed them--tentatively, not expecting anything to happen...and eventually I got brave enough to do one. A year plus later I'm doing it regularly and loving it, and it's been a big boon to me. I would not have found my way there without Colin's tip and encouragment. I have been lucky all my life to be part of an unusually generous network of fellow writers and mentors.

Tonight Colin gave me another lead when all I asked for was his knowledge of submission guidelines. We writers must champion and support each other. We must believe in a plentiful, abundant universe with enough for all...and do our hard work too, of course. So, in my friend Colin's words, I remind all my writer friends (and any writer who stops by for a visit):

"We're all in this leaky lifeboat together. If one swims we all swim."

On that note, I want to congratulate my friend
Susan Henderson, whose blog Litpark is a must visit, and truly original literary site. She sold her novel in the most astonishing way (on her own). Susan is a huge champion of fellow writers and a fine, fine writer.

I also want to say congrats to my friend Emily Brady, who went from the Columbia Journalism Masters Program to stringing for the New York Times in less than a year.

I am awed by so many people.


Always in Flux

I have decided today that no piece of writing is ever truly done. Once, I heard ZZ Packer read at Copperfields. She had a pencil in her hand and was marking up the text of her published book as she went. At the end, someone asked her what she was doing.

"I'm changing a few things to make them read better aloud next time," she said. That made me feel better, somewho.

I know that I have never read something I wrote again without wanting to change one thing. Not ever.

I think writing is a snapshot of where your brain was at the time you wrote the piece. Maybe you're in that same place for weeks or months at a time, but I don't seem to stay the same for more than a few days.

This is partly why I try to get those wild drafts written fairly quickly--because my own mind shifts and shuffles so quickly that often by the time I get to the end of something, my perspective has shifted dramatically, and the first half of the writing seems alien--distant from me. Did I write that? Why--what could I possibly have been thinking!

I do believe that other writers create works that are good enough that even though they could change something, it isn't really necessary. Not me, not yet. I have been re-reading old published short stories of mine, wishing I could update them. Switch out a word or a phrase, or update the emotional content of the story now that I've lived a little bit more.

I'm impressed with the illusion of seamlessness that great writers succeed at...because I think most writers go through this same journey, where the writing stops seeming familiar after awhile, or needs a tune up. It's hiding it from the reader that's the hard part.


Wednesday, March 21, 2007

I've been tempted lately to view my habit of writing messy, random, spontaneous first drafts as a sign that I am unskilled and destined never to be a published novelist. Then I thought about what it is I do...follow wild threads of my imagination down unknown corridors. Run free, surprise and exhilarate myself. Essentially, I play. My written creative play is not that different from what I did with my imagination as a child, only I'm doing it in words with the goal of coming to some greater understanding. I think it's actually quite good for me.

I also know how to do the ordering, polishing, blitzing, gutting and renovating that turns a draft into something that might impart joy and meaning to other readers, but there's nothing wrong with my process.

What's wrong is that I get impatient. I want to be perfect right away, even though I like the unbridled messy part. In fact, I like that part the best. I like waking up in the morning and wondering where in my own fiction I might travel that day. I like probing the far reaches of my own creativity--and surprising myself.

I think there is too much emphasis for artists on production, money-making and validation. We're taught to want to be like American Idol hopefuls--fighting and competing toward that million dollar prize, rather than just making the music that's in our souls.

I suppose you might think, "She'd change her tune if she got a book deal." I don't think so. I still have to value this part of the process--the reckless, strange, scary unknown writing part, before I can ever appreciate or become good enough to succeed at the other end of it.

I hope that other artists out there remember to enjoy the imperfect part of the process, or can learn how to, because it's important. Crucial even.

Monday, March 19, 2007





Seven out of eight parts of Make a Scene have been essentially completed (fine-tuning to go, yes, but written). Of the final three chapters, one is mostly done; the other two are taking shape.

A few exercises and an afterword and I should be good to go.

Oh...I was going to say something else--something pithy, meaningful, insightful---I'm sure of it!




Sunday, March 18, 2007


(thanks to Sunday Scribblings)

I am awed when the following words escape a person's mouth directed at a writer or other artist: "Is it hard to come up with ideas?"

My thought: do you live in the world or what?

It's not finding ideas that's challenging, it's capturing them, holding them tight as they wiggle in your fingers--inspecting their hairy/feathered/scaled little sides before deciding...will this do?

Can I take one eye of newt and hair of one death-obsessed sister who will not let go of her lost brother, a pinch of cult worship and a romantic interest and turn it into a novel?

Can I take the man who cleans gutters in the neighborhood, with his wandering eye and missing fingers and find him a landscape where he means something to someone?

Can I transform my own personal dramas into story?

Inspiration is the easy part. Walking down the street I pass a woman with missing teeth dressed in a suit, holding a banana--I'm inspired! Working I encounter a person who speaks so softly I would have to kiss her cheek to hear her voice. Inspired!


Friday, March 16, 2007

Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy

What a great couple of days! I say that despite that my brain feels squashed thin like a sheet of microscope glass from breaking down what I know about writing into semantically thin pieces of proscuitto. Writing a how-to book is an exercise in learning just how it is you think and learn and attempting to translate your own thinking/learning process to others in a universal way (and learning that you think in a strange cryptic language something like ancient Sanskrit). We won't even talk about what's happening to my eyesight, but as a hint, I'm sitting about five feet away from my computer screen in order to not have a blinding headache (hello far sightedness!)

It has been a great couple of days despite that the summer-like weather is turning the trees on my street bi-polar (Shed leaves! Shed leaves! Wait--don't. Do! Don't!) not to mention the birds and the insects buzzing around like a bunch of drunken children with no idea of what has happened.

Why has it been a great couple of days? Honestly, I don't know. Tracing it back to its source I find these possible causes:

I took a whirlwind trip to Petaluma on Weds and saw friends I haven't seen in ages, as well as wrote with my writing group--an insanely nurturing experience that felt like I could see color again after a temporary blindness.

Then I picked up the phone yesterday afternoon and was greeted by a woman in French. My cousin Martine! (My father's first cousin). I visited her and her family when I was twenty-three and we lost touch only in the past few years. She got my phone number from my grandfather. I felt like I was in some cool greek myth where I was doomed to understand the language but never to speak it. Oh I pulled up some garbled words, enough to convey that I was married, happy, living in California and do not have any babies. It was a pleasure to hear from her, and amusing to experience my mind grasping after words it could not translate. Fortunately Martine was in the same boat as she speaks no English. And now we have exchanged email addresses and are back in touch.

Then...well last night was really a blast. At BookSmart we hosted the divine Patry Francis, who has been my blog buddy for over a year now, and whose gorgeous, thrilling book The Liar's Diary is just out in hardcover. (And my friend Laura came, though i know she'd worked a long day--that's a good friend). Patry's on this cool tour of her own design all the way from Massachusetts. We had a nice little crowd, people were engaged and I felt that glow that I used to get in LiveWire's heyday. I'm easily stimultated by the right kind of activity.

So I guess that the weather, my recent interactions, the reality that I am very close to the end of Make a Scene and my general attitude shift have created a kind of non-chemical high.

Oh, and I just found out that my little bro got into the college of his choice--and I am so, so happy for him (and a little freaked out that he's finally old enough to go to college).

And I wrote this post rather than the chapter I'm supposed to be finishing. Procrastination--my best friend and worst enemy.


Tuesday, March 13, 2007

It's gaw-jus outside. High seventies, low wind. Blueeeee sky. Each tiny breeze sends a small shower of pale plum petals across my window and frosts the ground (which really hides the grease stains and trash!).

But I must stay focused. Work work work! I have a book to finish in 18 days. Oh sure, sounds like scads of time to you...but as the hinges of my brain are rusting and I'm nearly out of oil, I require all. the. concentration. I. can. muster.

But there's so much interesting stuff to think about! I've got ideas sprouting like adolescent acne and NOT ENOUGH BRAINS to write each one. So I've set aside one project for another. I will likely dance back and forth between them.

I've got NEWS too...but I can only reveal the edges of it. I will be producing three test-podcasts for a national magazine. For Word by Word fans, it will have a related appeal (literary), though shorter and less frequent. When the first podcast is available, I will tell you more.

Focus. Focus. Focus.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Your Turn

We writers seem to need a lot of support to keep going. Rebecca Lawton (author of Reading Water, Capitol Books) and I first turned to each other for writerly support over three years ago and the partnership has played a far greater role in our creative success than we ever dreamed. Buoyed as we were by this, we began to extend more of this support to other writers through the work we call Write Free. We led weekend retreats, day-long workshops and co-authored a book that is forthcoming in Summer from Kulupi Press's new "Wavegirl Books" imprint. And in January we launched the inaugural Write Free E-Letter.

Even if you don't choose to subscribe to the newsletter, we solicit submissions for a section within it called Your Turn each month. A guest editor selects their favorite essay and makes comments on a small round of finalists. Finalists are given a complimentary issue of the newsletter, and the selected essay is printed in the newsletter.

Here are the guidelines for the April Issue. Deadline is this week: March 15th, so hurry!

Deadline: March 15

In Your Turn last month, we asked for your 300-word contributions written on the theme of Revision. Thanks to all who’ve submitted pieces! There is still time for those wishing to submit to write a piece of 300 words or less and email their submissions to us at by midnight March 15. If you have trouble with the email server you may email me directly at: jordansmuse (at) gmail (dot) com.

We offered the following writing prompts, which you may use if you like.
The time I decided to do ________ instead of ________ . . .
Because I changed my mind back in [insert year], I . . .

Or you can answer these questions:
Did changing my mind [when I ________] hurt anyone?
Did changing my mind benefit me?

For the May Newsletter, deadline April 15th, the theme is Prosperity.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

A Parade of Friends and their Talent...(not in any particular order!)

Ellen Meister has this fun contest going name a character after you in her next book. I wish Ellen could write my daily ongoing dialogue--life would get way more interesting. Her first novel Secret Confessions of the Applewood PTA will be out in paperback this August if you failed to jump on the hardcover bandwagon last year :)

Patry Francis, author of the debut psychological thriller, The Liar's Diary, is coming my way on Thursday, March 15th, 6p.m. She'll be reading/signing at an author reception at BookSmart, an independent bookstore.

Myfanwy Collins, whose fiction is haunting and deep and lovely, has a new flash piece published at 3:AM magazine.

Robin Slick is cracking writer jokes at her blog and justifiably bragging about her rock star kids. Also, her second book, Another Bite of the Apple, the sequel to Three Days in New York City, has just been released. Order HERE.

I'm sure there will be more to come.


Saturday, March 10, 2007

May I point out that when it comes to my blog, all bets are off on spelling, grammar and craft. It's the one place I refuse to worry about all that. (Says she who is actually embarrassed of the sheer number of mistakes, poor syntax, and so on)...


Friday, March 09, 2007

Since I decided it would be a good month, it has been. I know there are plenty of people who get cranky about the idea that our positive attitude can affect our lives...I have, in fact, been one of those people more times than I can count. I mean, there's nothing more aggravating than just wanting to indulge in a little knee-deep unhappiness brought on by nasty bosses or surprise bills or incorrigible members of one's family and to have someone say to you, "Buck up, champ" or one of thousands of patronizing slogans.

In fact, I find I can only buck up when I tell myself to do so, and mean it. Why I can make myself mean it sometimes and not others is a lesson I haven't quite mastered.

Anyway, in this pollyanna daze of goodness I'm feeling I've finally struck upon the kind of writing I most enjoy doing. I mean more than anything I've ever written before in my life. Well, except maybe when I was a wee child. It's so much fun that I actually awoke this morning excited...too excited to even do my stretching exercises...and spent two and a half hours writing. Now, for those of you give a darn about these aspects of my life enough to have paid attention to what I say here...I usually only have about one good hour of fiction writing in me a morning. I'm not one of these write all day types--unless you count all the rest of the writing I do, and that is not always fun (though in its own way, satisfying).

But I'm not going to tell you about it yet. Because I find that really lets the air out of my sails (I really would like a better cliche than that one, but I'm strapped for 'em). I'm just grateful to know my imagination can still take surprising detours. That the pressure I've worn willingly on my back for the last decade to write a certain kind of thing can now be let go.

I can write this wonderful, wonderful stuff in oodles--having fun as I go--no matter what comes of it.

On a note of proof re: positive occurred to me this afternoon just how large a shift you can induce by changing how you think/feel. For instance what was getting me down these past few months was that my beloved cat is gone; I was unhappy and lonely and friendless (except for Laura!) in this town; I felt as though I had no writing community. And those conditions are precisely the same this month, and even more so yet since deciding to feel better about it all...I really do feel better. other trash and tabloid news (no, I'm not revealing what really killed Anna Nicole Smith)--I have a new television addiction thanks to Netflix: House, M.D. I have a very platonic crush on Hugh Laurie (no worries, honey!)...I mean I love hisacting as crotchety diagnostician Greg House. I'm slow to the uptake, I know. The other actors all pretty much suck (well, they're growing on me), but he carries the show. Gotta have my stories!


Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Wednesday Miscellany

If some of you are wondering why I haven't commented on your blogs in is because I am a very simple creature with short-term memory problems. Well that, and for no reason I can figure out, bloglines has simply purged some subscription to some of my favorite blogs from my feeds link. I've been adding them back in slowly as it occurs to me that it's been sometime since I've visited. Please don't take this personally!


I am very happy with the Spring-like weather. The plum blossoms are blooming all over town. Last night it felt like a summer night--balmy and smelling of flowers. I am very happy about daylight savings coming early (this Sunday, folks!), though I'm afraid we didn't get enough rain.

Just call me one day-on/one-day off girl. Yesterday I had a fantastic work I have the attention span of a male rat in a cage full of girl rats. (See...I can't even work an analogy!)

I am a big fan of Ricki Lee Jones' music up until about 1990. The latest album of hers I've got, she sounds like a drunk homeless person. (Oh please don't get on my case about being unkind to the homeless).

Sorry folks. I got nothing.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

The Whole Foods Guide to Improved Self Perception

I'm a bit ashamed to admit it, but Whole Foods has totally got my number. If it was a politician, I would vote for it. Today, E. and I needed some vitamins and we don't have a trip to Petaluma scheduled so I searched for the nearest Whole Foods and found one about 25 minutes north of us in a very pricey little burb whose name means the plural of cats in a language other than English :) You see, E. and I live in a town that has no health food store, only stores with health food "sections."

Whole Foods knows me better than you might think for a corporate chain that pretends to be eco-friendly and that charges $8 for an eggplant by affixing an "organic" label to it. It knows that I like to see myself as healthy-- that I prefer foods without preservatives, fillers, sugars, chemicals, etc and that I like my food to be as close to its source as is humanly possible without beheading my own chickens and mashing my own cornmeal. Yet it also knows that, despite what my brother-in-law persists in believing about me, I am not a hippie. Indeed I have more liberal-leaning views on things than some--like my belief in the need to invest in/rely upon alternative fuels to oil (though this is quickly becoming a mainstream viewpoint), humanity over the bottom line, and community before corporations--but I draw the line at the true "au naturel" ethos of the hippie mentality. I'm not vegan or even vegetarian. I don't always care if there's synthetic fabric in my wardrobe, and I slip into obedience of "the man" on plenty of occasions. I'm just not an idealist set on trying to change the world.

I don't fit the more traditional "outward" stereotypes of hippie either. Rather than the patchouli oil and unshowered dreadlock look (and trust me--we saw plenty of that in Santa Cruz this weekend if you think I'm making blanket generalizations), Whole Foods knows I prefer the yoga-taking, J.Crew-wearing, independently--wealthy look that you see on all their posters even if I do/am none of those things. Whole Foods knows that I would like to see myself as those things.

It also knows that the lady who boxed me in in the parking lot by parking her Chevy Subdivision so tight that I could hardly get into my side, while talking on her cell phone and drinking coffee at the same time; and the man emerging in loafers and madras shorts from his Hummer want to see themselves in the the above-mentioned way as well.

So even though I might pay $5 for 1 bell pepper; $60 for three different vitamins; and $30 for 4 chicken breasts (this really did happen to me!), they also know that I can't resist those pristine-looking rows of shiny vegetables, with just enough dirt left on to make it seem I'm buying them fresh out of the organic farmer's dirt...the seed and nut filled breads; the rows of bulk bin oats and rices...the very un-Safewayness of their stores--they know that they are improving my own sense of self, and for that I, and the hundred other people crowding the aisles, will gladly fork over the ridiculous amounts of money it costs to shop there.

I do it even though I feel slightly guilty by the time I get onto the highway.


Friday, March 02, 2007

I may just have some very cool news in the next week or so that would bring together two of my loves--literature and radio. But I will say nothing until there's something for sure to say.

Meanwhile, tell me you don't think this is weird...I picked up two books at random at the library. Two novels by authors I've read before. I didn't even read the jackets, just went by titles alone. Both of these books feature: A character who has been struck by lightning and survived death AND a character who takes a job as a part-time librarian.

I ask you...what on earth are the statistical chances of that? About the same as being struck by lightning? Should I be more careful in storms? Have I missed my calling in library science? It tells me that the spirit of synchronicity is alive and well.

This last week has been a great reminder that you get out of life exactly as much as you put in (and on occasion, when you least expect it, you get a little more than you put in). I'm back from my malaise. The darkness of winter feels behind us, even if it still has more than a month to go. There's plenty of goodness to be had!