Saturday, January 21, 2012

Floating and Writing

I finally took the time to take my free float at the flotation center in Oakland and it was fabulous. I really thought it was going to be a waste of time. One of those experiences you endure for the sake of experience. My daughter gave me a gift certificate to float for Christmas in order to help me with my fibromyalgia. I couldn't imagine how floating in a tank of salt water was going to benefit my pain, except to be relieved from it for maybe an hour, and besides the pain seems to be pretty much under control with gentle medication and lots of sleep. But the experts said that floating was worth four hours of deep sleep. Okay, so I drove down there last night in the rain and on the accident-prone highway. It took me almost an hour and half to get there, usually a 30-45 minute drive and by the time I got there, stress had climbed up into my right shoulder big-time. However, and I don't want to bore you with the process, google it and find out if you're interested, I did find out that floating on magnesium sulfate, salt, and warmed water in a sensory deprivation tank helped me relax and feel utterly blissful.

While in there, I began to imagine and remember events, people, rooms, details from my childhood that I hadn't thought about in years. Babysitting for the Barrs while I was in fifth grade, jumping on the trampoline in their basement(I know, what a strange and surreal place to put a trampoline.), -playing with Theresa and Scott in their oil and gas-stained garage. And then later, meeting their estranged father when I was in high school. He was a good-looking, part-Indian, guitar playing,smoking and drinking kind of guy.

Today, I can't help but wonder why those images popped into my head at that particular time. There was no connection to the rain outside, the actual float chamber, the artwork in the front part of the Cotton Mills Studio. I'm still not sure, but I do know these memories were recalled with such vividness that they deserve a second look in terms of story. I strongly suggest that you try out a new adventure. Make that writer's date with yourself to do something unexpected. You may surprise yourself.

Monday, January 16, 2012


Well,it is the year 2012 and I look at the date I last posted:May, 2011. I know why that date is significant. Without going into too much detail, I had some pretty bad work issues arise, not of my own making. Those issues took all summer to resolve; then there was the hangover impact from September until about December. I only say this because looking back I can see why I haven't been writing, why I haven't felt like writing. I told myself that not writing was a choice. Friends told me that I should write about the issues (journal. That sounded awful. Who wants to write about conflict, personal or professional, while you are in the middle of it. That said, and however, things have gradually changed. A shift toward the better. So I think New Years falls at just the right time. We need that calendar date to help us look back, to bring an end to what was and find ways to filter out the chaos. Pretty dramatic, I know.

So I encourage all of you to go ahead, make those resolutions to start writing again. Go out and visit the lit scene in SF and the bay area. I went to two really solid readings this week and my mind is on fire. I'm not a great reviewer of these things--too many adjectives and adverbs needed, but I will say that the Porchlight Reading Series and East Bay on the Brain are alive and kicking. I ran into several friends and colleagues at the EBOB thing and they asked if Porchlight was still happening. Many had never been. Having fallen off the wagon of hay for six or more months, I tended to think that these events were getting a little passe', tired, a been-there-done-that sort of thing for newer writers to feel the sparkle. But I was so impressed by readers at BBOB, by the quality and engagement of the work, that I had to compliment. I also ran into the editor of The Farallon Review, Tim Foley, an he graciously gave me a copy of issue 3 to read. Wow. I couldn't put it down, way to go Farallon writers. Lewis Buzbee, Ken Rodgers, David Booth--all writers I know, but haven't read in a while. Just terrific. Then I read the piece by Sarah Rose Horowitz called "Flat Daddy" and just fell in love with that sad story. I'm still reading the magazine, so that's where I have to stop. Like I said, I'm not a reviewer. That said, if you are stuck, you can't write, you don't want to journal, go out and watch some other writers read, relax and enjoy your life. Somehow writing finds its way back to you. Hemingway was wrong, writing is not like bleeding. Writing is the healing that comes after a long illness. So dramatic!