Wednesday, January 31, 2007

the mysterious creative process

Originally uploaded by michael689.

Last night was an intimate yet successful gathering for Eric Maisel and I came away with three important concepts that I can immediately apply to my writing life:

1) to get unblocked and to start thinking creatively, break an egg. I did that this morning even before my first cup of coffee and although there must be all sorts of symbolism to this act, what I found was that I kept picturing that gooey egg as I worked on my rewrite project.

2) write first thing in the morning ~ I usually do, but I read and answer emails and sometimes I think that my friends get my best work, which is OK if I have unlimited time, which I don't.

3) fall in love AGAIN with whatever I'm working on. Something inspired me originally and I need to reconnect with that. This helps overcome all that negative self-chatter (I'm too tired, I have no talent, I'm not really a writer, I hate rewriting, etc.) and that also seemed to work for me this morning.

And now I need to send the piece out. 538 words that I'm relatively satisfied with, thanks fo my writing group and Eric.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

sunny morning at the sundance

new 24th st. cafe
Originally uploaded by the omster.
Yes, I recommend the Sundance coffee shoppe ~ I sat outside in the sun here yesterday and read a short story entitled "Bear Meat" by Primo Levi (Italian, you know). This was stunningly beautiful in its simplicity and I started having DEEP THOUGHTS about things that make us stronger in life and I feel an essay bubbling somewhere inside my itty bitty brain. When I write it, my dear writing group friends will say, "more details", "expand this thought", "give us some examples" and "get rid of this last line or paragraph..."

Closing the store was a snap and I didn't hiss or fume once. Tonight is the Eric Maisel event at 7pm.

Back to the Sundance ~ note water dish for Livvy B. and I was impressed with the friendly baristas but because I am a business woman, I worried that their payroll was too high for the amount of customers on a quiet Monday morning. Plus, the place lacks Writing Salon publicity items which I trust will not be the case next time I visit.

Monday, January 29, 2007

may I be the first? and the last?

to correct this morning's headline ~ make that:


...I was testing you. You failed.

a slight of hand in vienna

the illusionist
Originally uploaded by the omster.
Can Edward Norton do anything wrong? We both enjoyed this movie last night (from the Flix®) and even though I need to think about it a little more, and perhaps discuss it with The Doctor tonight at work (part of my job), suffice it to say that this is well worth seeing.

Tonight I close the store and will do a better job than I did before. The first time doing anything there is always a little snarly for me because of the constant interruptions from customers and other little surprises. Plus it's a mess and I like neat and organized, at least on the surface.

This morning I will walk the nabe and visit a new coffee shop (just what this city needs!) up on 24th and Harrison.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

my parallel universe

The neighbors next door are still up, sitting under one of
those big portable heaters talking quietly and maybe
finishing the last of the brandy. Their upper deck features
the same spectacular view as you see in commano about
once a week and they have strung little white lights all
around the railing. They are probably in their 20's and
love is still probably very new because we don't hear any
raised voices or slamming doors as we have from other
young neighbors in the past.

I like listening to the Len Tillum show on KGO. He is an
outspoken lawyer and I swear to god that half of the issues
from callers have to do with problems people have with
their neighbors. We have always lucked out in this respect.
The houses are so close to each other in this crowded city,
and we read horror stories of the lunatic-next-door, yet our
neighbors have always been decent and respectful. There
was one busy drug dealer once, but that was long ago.....

Saturday, January 27, 2007

next Tuesday night!

Jan. 30th event
Originally uploaded by the omster.
I was carefully taught to be responsible for the entire world, so of course I'm already fretting about this event that I instigated for next week. If you are a writer, or know some of those creatures, I think you/they will enjoy meeting Eric. Many thanks to the Salon Mistress for sending out an email to her many students and fans.

Tuesday, Jan. 30th
Borders Union Square
Post & Powell
4th Floor
(415) 399-1633

Be there or my Wednesday post will be filled with misery. Thank you.

Friday, January 26, 2007

from the sublime to the ridiculous

pagoda stow lake
Originally uploaded by the omster.
Yesterday Neti and I walked Stow Lake twice while we solved most of the problems of this world. Then we went to the Mandalay Restaurant out on California (near 7th Ave.) ~ my first Burmese food which tasted suspiciously like Thai. But good.

Returned to the big box retail store to wade through 118 new emails (sheesh, I hadn't finished answering the ones from last Sunday). Here, in a nutshell, is the subject matter:
.vertical transportation issues (escalators worse than elevator)
.3 missing trash cans ~ the homeless wheel our recycle cans/bottles away
.disciplinary issues ~ ncns=no call, no show & a written warning
.scam artists come they always win?
.plumbing problems
.new policy for PT people ~ paid sick days (yeah San Francisco!)
.and a few even more tedious issues that I won't bore you with

Light rain today and I enjoyed the misty walk home from BART after work.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

not quite 900 pages

...but I am certainly enjoying Sacred Games because it is
so incredibly interesting to read about a policeman's life
in India. I also just finished
Monkey Hill, a long short story
in a December New Yorker written by Paul Theroux whom
I have long admired. Dig out your old unread magazines
because this is an excellent piece. It's about a wealthy
American couple visiting an exclusive resort in a small
town in India. Neither can be called heroic, if you get my drift.

And yesterday I had to call the AOL help line, so you can
see that I have an Indian theme to start today's post.

Last night we had dinner at this relatively new restaurant
on Church Street. Husbando had pasta and clams and I
enjoyed the steelhead trout. It was packed and a little
noisy, but we yelled at each other and returned home in
time to watch the 8pm Jon Stewart rerun.
"Pescheria - San Francisco Restaurant & Menu Guide"

BTW (Back to Work) tomorrow. I can do it. 6am start.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

just a bit more walk talk

When I wrote yesterday, I didn't really think clearly about my favorite walk spots...all I thought about were the happy memories. As a result I forgot two from Santa Barbara ~ that beach across from my friend Ginger's home in Summerland
(where Kevin Costner lives) and also the long East Beach walk down in the main part of town. I also neglected Ginger's cowboy moutain walk in Manhattan, Kansas. The Lands End walk is spectacular, but doesn't feel safe for solo walking to me (thanks to the Chronicle and to Armistead Maupin) and Bernal Hill is impossible to walk now because the ghost of Sidney (our Jewish Irish Setter) still romps there and it doesn't seem right to hike there without him.

We have always rented homes with fireplaces up at Sea Ranch. Heaven. So quiet and peaceful that you won't want to turn on a tv to spoil the mood. Unless it's the World Series or an important Giants game, that is.

Dinner at The Front Porch was:
3 fried chickens
1 burger (me)
1 veggie stew
1 crab and porridge (TGP)
Really fine service too, warm and friendly.

To clear up future confusion, I might be the only woman in the world with two close friends named Ginger. Both are walkers
and we have already established the fact that I am more than lucky in friendship.

Now off to the Pesheria for some fish food. I'll review it quickly tomorrow.

from monday morning

mornings @ 7
Originally uploaded by the omster.
Who could grow tired of this ever-changing view from our back room? The fact that this is our "summer room" and lacks insulation (translate ~ it's way below 30ยบ here most days and nights) only adds to our appreciation and the at least twice daily, "oh, come look now!" calls between Husbando and myself.

Thanks for all the walk comments. I'm constructing another little graph on the subject for this afternoon. Off to yoga...

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

walk, breathe, remember

This morning's walk at Crissy Field was such a fine tonic
after eating too much at the delightful Front Porch dinner last night. A good time was had by all!

Here is a list of my favorite walking places, in order:

1) Crissy Field ~ sea air, boats, dogs, GG Bridge
2) Monterey to Pacific Grove ~ right on the ocean
3) Bluffs at Mendocino ~ begin or end walking around
the homes and inhaling the fireplace aromas
4) Sea Ranch ~ note the deer on land, sea lions in ocean
5) Ashland, Oregon ~ only walk without water!
6) Erie Canal in Pennsylvania ~ picnic along the way
7) Central Park in NYC
8) Stow Lake in GG Park
9) Ocean Beach ~ this might be #5, too lazy to switch
10) Millennium Bridge (London) to/fro the Tate Modern

Finally met with L & L today to see photos of Italy ~
shots of buildings, cemeteries, rivers, canals, churches
and the glory that was Pompeii. I love that they included
their hotel rooms, I'll do that too. The toddler girl colored
quietly and intently and then introduced me to her 3
companions: Lilly, Rosie and Lambie. (Lamby?) I was
immensely pleased to learn that there are internet cafes
all over Italy and I am not to worry.

Discussion with Husbando about avoiding Bush tonight.
Tempting, no?

Monday, January 22, 2007

day one ~ fireplace & poetry

Today I will have a quiet morning with msBook in front of
the fire and tomorrow I will walk Crissy Field in the morning.
I owe a bunch of emails to people and I want to read the
Chandra book between walks and naps. Tonight we are
gathering with friends that we have known for decades
(Neti and Frank) and our relatively new friends (The Great
Plotniks) to celebrate the of Husbando yesterday.
All 4 of his children actually called the same day (!) and
he did three loads of laundry while I heard about that magic
dragon from Mr. Chong at the big box retail store.

I brought home a poetry book because of this one poem,
but Jane Hirshfield's
After is filled with perfectly polished
little gems to help us understand our lives. Enjoy.

To Wake At 3:00

To wake at 3:00
and not want to go back to sleep
is different
from waking and wanting
not to go back to sleep.

come to the mind,
predictable almost as breath.
The days small errors and failures,
Wrong words that were said,
right ones that were not.

Outside the window
a truck, with yellow lights
running the length of its body
R&L Cargo lettered large down its side,
diesels the street inexplicably backward.

Making its own deliveries
equally exhausted, from some great distance.

Jane Hirshfield

(I have learned that if I retype a poem it means even
more to me and sometimes quite differently than it did
originally ~ do you find this? Am I making any sense?)

Sunday, January 21, 2007

of puffs and bongs

chong book
Originally uploaded by the omster.
First I want to say that I am NOT responsible for the choice of ads from Google. Ever since I put the church photo in the blog it looks like some Christian propaganda machine. It is not easy to remain an agnostic in this life, so my reward should not be a bunch of Jesus ads.

Tommy Chong spoke to a good size crowd in our store today. He looked far, far better in his black tee shirt than he does here on the cover of his book. I liked him! He spoke of the simple things that appeal to me at this stage of life. How he learned to appreciate being able to open a door himself and walk outside after being in prison. How cigarettes and alcohol kill more people than pot does. Then a bit about karma that I had thought about before. For instance, ever since the greedy oil companies had their summer of high profits, more and more people are buying hybrids and small gas-efficient cars. I certainly wasn't expecting to be impressed by Tommy Chong, but I was.

Now my 4 in a row days off vacationette begins. Rejoice (but no more religious ads, puleeeeze.)

Saturday, January 20, 2007

oh, so that's a key

Today after work I met Husbando at the exceedingly small
SF Playhouse up on Sutter. I did not have the vaguest idea
where Deb Margolin came up with the title of her play,
Seconds In The Key,
so now we all know (or guess) that it's
that rectangular sort of painted area on a basketball court.
For some inexplicable reason, the players can't stand
around in there for more than 3 seconds. (I'm not a fan of

Anyway, this is a delight ~ a long one act (hooray!) play about
a mother fighting Hodgkin's Disease, her 8 year old son and
five realistic basketball players! I did well up once or twice
and I give it 3 1/2 Kleenex®. I enjoyed the give and take
between the very Jewish mother and the black sports hero.
The kid was terrific too, he whined like he'd done that before
in his real life.

Friday, January 19, 2007

900 pages in 4 days?

Originally uploaded by the omster.
My big box retail mortar chain store offers this generous book loan program for employees, so today I brought this huge feast of a mystery novel home for my upcoming mini-vacation. This book has had some fabulous reviews and it took the author 7 years to finish it. I haven't been reading enough lately (except for New Yorker magazines) so this will count for at least two books.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

let's focus on bread and words

focaccio bakery
Originally uploaded by the omster.
This is where we buy our foccacia or is it with an "o" there on the end? In any event, I wanted mostly to show the two Chinese men sitting in the front window here, but by the time I screwed around changing batteries, they had probably done their Tai Chi and moved on to lunch plans. There is this distinct smell in North Beach ~ coffee, bread, garlic ~ but you already know this.

Today I have a serious writing project for our Tiapos group tonight. Haven't seen Chef P in ages and I know it will be the usual wonderful time at Mistress Jane's second winter home. I actually have a little bit written for tonight. Of course I am highly dissatisfied with the results, but for me that's par for the course. After 754 rewrites I might even post it here on commano. Maybe.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

gazing inward on wednesday

Here from the Dec. 25th New Yorker ~ I'm finally getting
caught up on the important parts of life that I neglected
during the Happy Holiday Retail Season:

A writer is someone who spends years patiently trying to
discover the second being inside him, and the world that
makes him who he is. When I speak of writing, the image
that comes first to my mind is not a novel, a poem, or a
literary tradition; it is the person who shuts himself up in
a room, sits down at a table and, alone, turns inward.

To write is to transform that inward gaze into words...

Orhan Pamuk

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

the saints be praised

sts. peter & paul
Originally uploaded by the omster.
Yeah, I made it through that first closing! I had a bunch of hard working people and only one minor dust up with a customer. But, heck, I have those during the day time too. It is odd about the folks who come in one minute before 11am and need to search for a very important book. One gentleman popped over from a nearby bar looking for "How to Talk to Women". Ah yes, we are such a mystery.

Can you see the usual 15 or so Chinese elders on the lawn in front of the church here? So graceful. The light this time of year (without rain or grey fog) reminds us of Paris ~ too clear and beautiful to try to describe. Maybe the photo will do a better job than I ever could.

Today I have interviews (cafe and one 6am shelver) and a little desk work. Then I'll get into my zone for an hour or so. It's looking so much better...the genre that is My Zone.

Monday, January 15, 2007

one bay at a time

I have been actively working in the book shelves these past
few days and enjoying it immensely. Mystery is a mess,
but now the A through D bays are finished and I've sent
back some dogs that have been sitting there since May,
taking up valuable space. Every section in our store really
needs daily maintenance, but we certainly don't have the
payroll for that. The problem of course is that when I finish
getting the shelves perfect I want to slap the hands of the
customers who feel it is their right to pull out books and
put them back in the wrong place.

Tonight is my first closing in many years. I don't mind so
much, especially since I have my early morning productive
hours to fuss with the blog (updated yesterday!) and then
Husbando and I are going to North Beach to buy some
foccacio and have coffee at the venerable Cafe Trieste.
Caffe Trieste. I can picture the poetic One Foot now with
a tear in her left eye.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

no sweetness or light

human trafficking
Originally uploaded by the omster.
Last night we huddled in front of the fireplace and watched 1/2 of this very difficult movie from the Flix®. I was hooked though after a 14 year old prostitute was found dead and the policeMAN couldn't understand why they were starting younger and younger. This brutal sex slave business goes on right in front of our noses (and other body parts) right here in my beloved city and it is a world wide problem because (surprise) there is so much money to be made.

Now I'm going to update commano. Susan had some "issues" up at The Tonsil War, but she worked her way out of it and so will I. With a little help from my friends, APU (as per usual).

Saturday, January 13, 2007

a weekend in name only

By now everyone within a 200 mile radius of every big
city and small suburb knows that I open the store at
6am on Saturday and Sunday. (There, all said without a
comma. Excellent.)

It's pretty slow currently so we can all get caught up
on assorted projects we dropped last October. I'm in the
hiring mode again but have worked out a system wherein
I email the applicants first with all the details of the job
and we both save a lot of time that way.

Another thing that I love about San Francisco is that we
voted to raise our minimum wage. It is now $9.13 an hour,
and we start everyone at $9.25.  What a huge difference
that makes in hiring people ~ night and day. I can look the
applicant in the eye and feel no shame. Not true before our
citizens took to the voting booths.

Friday, January 12, 2007

life lessons, continued

Most of the young 'uns at work give me GREAT hope for
the future, and I am not being even one bit sarcastic here.
They are extremely bright and laugh at my jokes ~ what
more can we ask for? The only morning meeting I have
anymore, due to scheduling, is on Sunday. Last week we
had a quick discussion about how to handle angry customers
and I told them what Husbando taught me years ago:

Don't get into a pissing contest with a skunk.

It has nothing to do with whether the customer is right or
wrong or belongs in a mental institution. No matter what,
you are going to lose ~ so what I do is stand there (as close
as I can bear to) and look the screamer in the eye while
trying my best to look sympathetic. Then I listen. Usually
I'm thinking about what's for lunch or dinner, but I appear
to be oh so intensely concerned. I nod two or three times
and say "I'm sorry". I am a sponge. It works.

SpongeMary is heading off for five more days of retail fun.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

I'm all like, "don't use this word, please..."

I'm all like...
Originally uploaded by the omster.
How LONG has this like business been going on? Must be more than 20 years by now, and it is certainly not limited to females nor teenagers. I am proud to admit that I'm one of those people who feel it is my right and duty to correct folks who have this lazy and exceedingly tedious habit. What is interesting is that when I make gentle fun (ahem) of someone who says "like" more than 767 times a day is that they do become aware and try to change. As with any bad habit it takes lots of work and about 90 days to erradicate it almost completely. At least that's my experience. I love a rant on a Thursday, don't you?

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

day off with pay!

Some of my gentle readers have suggested that I like EVERY
damn play that we go to, so let me be quick to point out
that I didn't particularly care for
The Circle and not just
because it had the dreaded and unnecessary two inter-
missions (the set didn't even change), but it just seemed
a bit anti-woman to me. It did not help one iota that I was
sitting next to a man, dressed like Husbando, who actually
had the audacity to chuckle aloud. W. Somerset Maugham
(that W. is pretentious, no?) supposedly played for both
teams, but anyone with an ounce of sense realizes that
his favorite team was not the British Women All Stars.

Poor Bossman had to finally ask me to close one night a
week and of course I said, "yes". So Monday nights I will be
staying up v. late (the store closes at 11pm) and I've
already decided that I must take a real hour lunch instead
of working at my desk while nibbling on the wich from home.
I'll haul ass to Chinatown and explore some new restaurants.
My last scheduled closing was September 11, 2001. Beware.

I want/need/must have the new iPhone pictured in today's
Chronny ~ front page, Business Section. The price will be
just about right a year from now, after Italy is paid off.
Good work all of you (Mr. SL, Notthat, Sally) who work down
there on the Infinite Loop.

New blog on the block ~
The Tonsil War. Susan and I worked
together when there was a Capwell's. She was and is a force
to be reckoned with, and one of my many glorious memories of
her is when she was offered a shitty little raise (that's all we
ever got) and she tore up the paper that was offered to her
as a "gift" from our pinch-faced boss and refused the so-called
raise. Atta woman. Now she and her husband are battling his
cancer and I know they will win because that is Susan's M.O.

Chatty today, am I not? Off to yoga to replace curses with

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

and a french dessert today

Bossman emailed this to me. Very cool.
Click Here: Check out "Video jerome murat - seg, murat - Dailymotion Partagez Vos Videos"

only good news on tuesday

Today will be a long one, even though I was able to sleep in
until 5am. I work 10am to 7pm, then head for a quick turkey
sandwich at Lefty O'Doul's with Husbando. We will scurry
down the street to see
The Circle ACT San Francisco and I so
hope it's not one of those plays with two endless intermissions.

I have ripped this from today's headlines ~ excellent news:

JetBlue announces SFO flights. We took JetBlue from Oakland
to NYC two years ago (on Valentine's Day) and the only bad
part was the schlepp from our little home to Oakland. No fun
going across/under that Bay Bridge, whether by car or van or
BART. This should cheer the poetic One Foot immensely too.

And one more link here. Dancing Jen recommended this
school for me
The Italingua Institute which I mentioned in
yesterday's post. I can walk 3 blocks down from work and
matriculate. OK, this is a wrap...

Monday, January 08, 2007

florence on my mind

ponte vecchio
Originally uploaded by mandydale.
I have sent my check to the Italian Institute for the 6 week "Italian for Travelers" course that begins Feb. 26 and ends 4 days before I hop on the plane to Florence. I've decided NOT to take msBook after a lot of helpful input from many kind people. I'm just such a worrier and I won't have Husbando there reminding me to not leave my coat, camera, computer or purse on the chair, table, bench or bridge. Besides, when we stayed in London for two weeks, I so enjoyed solo walking to the busy internet cafe down by Victoria Station and sitting amongst all those people from all over the world while I read and wrote emails. So there will be extra adventures awaiting me without msBook.

Soon I will meet and have bird coffee with Loren and Lenore and the former will show me her Florence photos and give me more little hints which I carefully note in my Italian file folder on my desktop here. Is it any wonder I can't sleep all night? So much excitement ahead!

Sunday, January 07, 2007

well, well, well...

Jan. 30th event
Originally uploaded by the omster.
Imagine this ~ an image has been up/downloaded onto commano. I am indebted to The Great Plotnik and to the good Doctor. Since msBook is mouseless, I had to use some extremely high tech methods to finally learn to do this, but the world is my oyster now. I am hosting this event and hoping for a terrific turnout. I'll talk more about it, but for now I just want to give you the time and date and I need to sit in my warm technical glow for an hour or so.

Tuesday, January 30th ~ 7pm
Borders Union Square ~ 4th floor
Eric Maisel will discuss and sign
"A Writer's San Francisco"

Please note that the magnificent Paul Madonna has illustrated this totally delightful book. And yesterday we sold 6 copies! Yeah...

Saturday, January 06, 2007

trying to explain city-love

(Here's a piece I wrote for Tiapos a few months ago. I'm too tired this morning to write anything fresh. It only has one rejection slip ~ or a No Comment is more like it ~ so instead of letting it rest, as I usually do, I'll post it.)

I was listening to the radio last week ~ a rebroadcast of celebrity chef,
Anthony Bourdin, when he spoke to the Commonwealth Club here in
San Francisco. Someone in the audience wanted to know why Bourdin
was planning to move to Vietnam instead of staying here in the United
States, or perhaps making his permanent residence someplace like
France, where his talents will be appreciated. "I fell in love", he responded.
The food, their love of food, the warmth of the people, the scenery, the
air. It's not easy to explain love, is it?

We know what Bourdin means. We who have changed our lives, given
up high paying jobs and left our families to live here in San Francisco.

I'm reminded of the Japanese poet Eimi Yamada who wrote so
succinctly about people-love:
"When I say I want a man; if it's not that man, then it just won't do for me."
Immediately we are transported back to when we fell in love and had
to have THAT man ~ with all his problems and idiosyncrasies.

And I say, "when I want a home; if it's not San Francisco, then it just
won't do for me".

I was one of those people who tried living in Oakland and then Daly
City. Close, but not The Real Deal. I wanted the smelly Muni buses, the
clang of the cable car, the fog, the mighty cold breezes from the Bay,
Crissy Field, the Chronicle, North Beach, Chinatown, the Mission,
parking problems, Little Saigon, Golden Gate Park and always the hills.
A knock-me-over different view from whatever hill I'm on. And the light ~
we live in what must be the most photographed city in the world. Also
one of the most expensive, but that's love for you.

I love saying, "yes, I live right here in the City of San Francisco".

Friday, January 05, 2007

a small gathering of writers

Only four of us last night and we met at our little Bernal
casa, which was quite nice for me as I did not have to
venture out into the cold. Husbando locked himself away
with the 1904 St. Louis Fair from the Flix® and was
disgusted by the racism back then. Back then.

I used this old prompt from Writer's Digest.
Grab a
dictionary and randomly select five words. Use them in
an opening  paragraph of a short story.
I had one I wrote
in 2003, and then wrote another for last night because
Husbando said my writing has IMPROVED so much over
these past three years. Oh, heavenly praise ~ rewards
beyond my own meager dreams. May I cook dinner? May
I vacuum every room, scrub the sink? Show me how to use
the washer and dryer and I'll even do the laundry!

Great pride yesterday as we watched Madam Nancy being
sworn in. Remember, one hundred years ago women could
not even vote. Still a lot of work ahead...

Thursday, January 04, 2007

solo walks rock

necklace on bessie
Originally uploaded by the omster.
What is this tree? I usually end up walking by it on my nabe walk and have always called it "the necklace tree". There is a two block long Bessie Street here in Bernal Heights with some delightully odd little cottages. Today I must write for the group tonight and I feel quite stale and unmotivated. However the Salon Mistress taught me from Day One that no one gives a rat's ass if I FEEL like writing or not. (Oh oh. I see that flickr® here wants me to upgrade and that always strikes fear in my heart.)

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

some called him Plum

A few days before this very Merry Xmas, Mr. bla bla bla
Black dashed up from his big chain bookstore to MY little
slice of heaven and gave me this incredible book which
I am enjoying immensely.
Author! Author! was published
in 1962, and contains 40 years worth of letters from the
prolific (and highly amusing) P.G. Wodehouse to his boyhood
friend, Bill Townsend.

I'm reading about a letter a day so far, but with this heavy
grey flannel flog today, I'll accomplish more. Back then
people knew and used BIG words, their vocabularies far
exceeded our currently awesome word choices. For instance
in the Introduction, Bill says, "In my impecunious youth in
San Francisco..."

From Plum's 3/23/20 letter to Bill:
"On a novel I generally do eight pages a day, i.e., about
2,500 words, but I read the stuff over all the time and do
endless rewriting." and
"As a rule, I find a week long enough for a short story, if
I have the plot well thought out."

Wodehouse made buckets of money from his work and
kept writing into his 80s. Best of all, he traveled and
lived all over the world and was able to "accept great
joy" as my poetic NYC friend writes in
One Foot Out the Door.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

magnificent butterflies

As the uccello flies, it really isn't very many weeks until my
trip to Italy. I leave from SFO on April 6th. My friend and one
of the tour directors (Ginger del Summerland) and I had a
long and somewhat disjointed conversation on Sunday and
I have the names of two of the places where we'll be staying.

I keep forgetting that it's a small country and when she says,
"then we'll take the train to Rome and back to Florence", I
picture the long Amtrak® experiments here.  Anyway, we end
up being in Florence for 6 nights and I love this place, even
though it's a dreaded B&B. I doubt that my Italian will enable
me to have long philosophical conversations with strangers
sipping sherry and wearing madras shorts. (Oh, the 6 nights
aren't consecutive ~ it's a to/fro kind of thing.)
Bed & Breakfast Villino Il Magnifico Florence -

Need I say that I'm already nervous, in a good sort of way?
It's probably the longest time that I've ever been away from
Husbando, plus msBook has to stay home which means I
need to learn how to find and use foreign computers. But
Dancing Jen went ALL BY HERSELF for several months and
that inspires me.  Plus I'll be traveling with 5 other women
and yet I will always have My Own Room (selfish bitch), a
phone card and two credit cards just begging to be maxed out.

Monday, January 01, 2007

a fresh year awaits us...

And now let us welcome the New Year,
full of things that have never been.

Rainer Maria Rilke

starting the new year off right!

Thanks 2007 times to Michael for the updated link list
over there on the right! My blog has changed (for me)
and has become an important part of my daily life and
now I have everything over there at my fingertips! I
am so grateful to Michael for doing this tedious and
highly technical work. (I did try to add a link once and
ended up going for a fast walk instead. Luddite.)

I have a post coming up, forming in my brain right now,
talking about this blog and what it means to me. At this
point, however, just let me say that I appreciate those
of you who read it and I love all the comments...even
the ones I've deleted. Thank you.