I have not posted of late. See picture on left. We brought him into our pack and I have been adjusting to the dog element as it relates to freaked out housecats and a toddler with beaucoup d’energy. Le French Fry. Just threw that in for no reason. Tucker is 4. We rescued him. His version of “kill, Fido, kill” is to roll over and have someone scratch his tummy like they really mean it. He is very pleased to have a family. Personally? I am amazed at how non-stressed I am, considering Tucker needs training. I am in a stepped-up-league of “Tested Mama” and enjoying my experience, learning bizarre new levels of Self-Growth-Self-Potential-Patience, and new levels of confidence as I—as Leader Of The Pack—push the jogging strolling with one hand and grip a leash (while arm remains relaxed) with the other. Humans are marvelous walking bottles of Untapped Miracles. And so are dogs.
Writing: Re-working that short story mentioned in uber-recent posts; making my Sunday Mommy Blogging deadline; tweaking new poem (also previously mentioned). Since we still don’t have a printer, I am emailing my story to Kinko’s and picking it up this afternoon as the journal I’m submitting to has no online submission option (does this make them quaint?). Things are jumping around here. Okay, Muse?
Oh—and if you haven’t peeked at the Henry Miller Library website of late, do. It’s all mega concerts and—Sven From Sweden—and—a specifically certain kind of: Wow. I met Magnus at the Big Sur Children’s Writing Workshops one Winter (before husband, child, pets, suburbia, LIFE LIFE LIFE). He was very sweet and Big Sur Shaggy and running things in a Zen sort of way that included deep breaths and intense looks followed by huge, full-moon smiles. I ended up leaving the conference early—partly because my stomach was not behaving and mostly because after one day there I knew I wasn’t getting what my manuscript needed. I will always remember the woman who told me to be careful of using “made-up-language” in my story. She said: “Made-up-language, like, you know, what Tolkien does, is distracting. You should be aware of that.” I just stared at her, frozen with shock, until she said, “Yeah, my daughter gives me that same look when I tell her I can’t read Tolkien because of the ANNOYING LANGUAGES.” I will always remember the author who critiqued the first page of my manuscript while trying to build a fire in her cabin’s fireplace. She was irked because “the help” hadn’t arrived to light the fire before her workshop students arrived. Completely distracted and flustered by her task, I received the choppiest, vaguest criticism to date. I will never forget my one-on-one with a children’s author who critiqued the first three chapters of my manuscript. The second I crossed her cabin’s threshold, she declared she ADORED my chapters and confessed, “I was so moved by your writing that I was going to call you by your little heroine’s name instead of your own!”—and then she touted Grendel for a bit while repeatedly glancing at her watch. I try to forget the lecture delivered on manuscript First Pages—the all-too-usual spiel from an agent: “If a first page doesn’t read Snappy, the submission goes right into the trash bin.” I cannot call any page that Tolkien has ever written: Snappy. Nor Philip Pullman’s pages. Nor Joan Aiken’s. I can call them: fascinating, intelligent and fluid —and I aspire.
Since that conference, I have reserved Big Sur for the retreat it has been for me since I was a kid: imagination-sparking rustic cabins huddled in Redwood forests, wild, wind imprinted beaches, icy river water, well-roaring fireplaces, Nepenthe’s at sunset, sun-gold foothills. I can find a poem in Andrew Molera, discover first pages along any Point Lobos trail, enjoy fresh, interesting syntax with every sip of Mexican Coffee on Ventana’s terrace—yes, okay pushing it. I’m due for a Big Sur visit—this time with spouse, toddler and Tucker experiencing it with me. We’ll probably skip the library, though—unless they allow dogs.