Weekend cafe: writers write (occasionally it’s interesting)

Plenty of news from the past few days:

Sadly, Hurricane Irene has a death toll that now stands at five.  New Yorkers in coastal communities have mostly been evacuated.  Steve Jobs hasn’t changed his mind and is no longer going to be the king of Apple.  Read these unusual 10 facts you didn’t know about him.  Wall Street finally had an up week after four lousy ones, due to Ben Bernanke hinting that the Fed might do something about something.  A new study predicts that half of Americans will be obese by 2030.

Moving on:

The other day, a wise friend of mine, who’s also a very successful writer, revealed the long held secret of writers everywhere.  Are you ready?  They write.  They think some, but mostly they write.  And then they go back and look at what they’ve written and think, “What a bunch of crap!” and then they rewrite.  Later, they’ll read what they’ve got and think, “Now that’s less crappy,” and then they often have a cup of coffee or a bottle of wine and distract themselves the rest of the day with tasks like organizing their Tupperware drawer.

Why am I telling you this?  I have no idea.  I just know that some days, I don’t want to tell you about the news, I just want to write.  There isn’t even anything urgent I want to convey; I just want to write. And so, let me apologize in advance for the following bunch of crap:

– I miss clouds.  In Los Angeles, from May through October, the weather is stagnant.  It’s often beautiful and this summer, like last, has not been horribly hot (minus the past few days – more on that in my next post).  But clouds are hard to come by unless you’re in the mountains.  There are no “rows and flows of angel hair, and ice cream castles in the air”.  It’s just blue sky, and it’s endless.  At the Grand Canyon, across Arizona, Colorado and Utah, there were clouds everywhere – dark and ominous, puffy and thick, marshmallow-y and dramatic – and I miss them.  It will be Halloween here before we see anything resembling a chance of rain.

– When I fed the dogs dinner last night, I hovered over Jack because lately, there’s been some unexplained “issue” and he occasionally walks away having only eaten a few bites.  It’s unexplained because Jack does not speak English.  He’s also an enigma.  Shelby wears her heart on her furry backside.  Jack?  I have no idea.  Clearly, his “issue” has been resolved because he ate nearly two cups of food in four bites, as if it was the last bowl of kibbles he’d ever get.  I was embarrassed for him.

– Lately, I’ve been straddling a fence in the landscape that is motherhood.  Here’s my dilemma: if I don’t teach my kids everything, will they figure out how to bake a potato for themselves, or at least ask someone?  I’m the youngest of five children and (cue violins) there were a lot of assumptions made on what I knew, what I’d learn on my own, or what I’d come to understand watching my siblings and “The Galloping Gourmet”.  I didn’t learn how to pronounce the word “façade” until well into my 20s.  I still tie my shoelaces funny.  I learned that cold water is the only method for getting out blood and mud stains when I was forty.  So when I tell Miss T she can stand up on the bike pedals going uphill for added oomph and speed and she says, “I know!” in a not-so-nice voice, I wonder – do I have to tell her it’s “for all intents and purposes” and not “for all intensive purposes”, or will she figure that out for herself?

– I talk to people I don’t know all the time.  I don’t refer to them as strangers because I tend not to engage with “strange” people, just those I might be with on an elevator, or standing behind in a line.  My husband would say I’m not comfortable with silence, and that’s partly true, but I also have an inherited need to connect with people, I think, because I don’t want to feel alone when I’m out there in the world.  I can’t believe I wrote that.  I didn’t actually know that was the reason until just now.  My children think it’s funny and weird that I talk to people I don’t know.  It’s just part of being Joan’s daughter.  My mother has made life-long friends in traffic, waiting for the light to turn green.

– Some advice: yesterday, I saw a woman running in the neighborhood.  I’m not sure why she didn’t have a bloody nose because her sizeable ta-tas were hitting her in the face.  Solution: two jog bras, preferably a size smaller than you think you need.  After each of my babies were born and mine were the size of mangos cantaloupe, I found this worked best.

– We received the new Restoration Hardware catalogue today in the mail.  It is larger than the Sears and Roebuck catalogue I used to browse through as a child, and not nearly as much fun.  We have a few Restoration Hardware items in our home – the floor sample sectional sofa, towels given to us by others – and you’d recognize the silver sage walls of our den as their signature color.  But sweet Jesus, this latest “Fall 2011 Source Book” is ridiculous!  “Pretentious” doesn’t begin to describe their table of contents: “The Real Iron Men” on page 10, “The Master of Linen” on page 510.  The whole thing comes in at a whopping 615 pages and there’s nary a color (like blue, red, or green) to be found anywhere.

Okay, I’m done, for today.

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  1. Kimberley Eddy says

    Hi Jo.

    I am not sure if you have come across the book,”Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life” by Amy Krouse Rosenthal or not, but if you haven’t read it yet, you should run out right now and get it. I think you would enjoy it immensely based upon your random writings above. The author takes many writings that she has compiled throughout her life and organizes them into an encyclopedia. Good stuff! You can check out her website for some really though provoking videos as well. My personal favourite are the “Beckoning of Lovely” videos. http://www.whoisamy.com/ http://encyclopediaofanordinarylife.com

    Hope you like it!

  2. Mary Anne says

    I get my news from plenty of sources (sometimes maybe too many) and so while I always read your posts, I most love the ones where you “just write”. You do it well and nearly always strike a chord. Today you remind me how much I love our clouds – we have had such great sunrises and sunsets lately. And yes, Restoration Hardware – what were they thinking? The result of their four pound offering is that I really don’t want to buy anything else from them. Clearly the “master of linen” doesn’t reside here.

  3. Mare says

    Yes, yes, I agree with Mary Anne. I love the random thoughts…it’s more thought provoking than the stuff we’re hearing all day on the news. I particularly chuckled at the Restoration Hardware note. I, too, wondered what the heck that was in my mailbox…and how many ways can you say “gray.” Geez. Good blog, Jo.

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