Friday, December 29, 2006

Things I've made in the last year:

An apple pie (using mostly agave nectar instead of sugar, and the crust turned out very good)

A fat blue scarf with two kinds of yarn for my sister-in-law

An "homage to Gee's Bend" quilt (in process)

A lot of new poems

A new essay or two or three

This blog

Student critiques and recommendation letters

Stirring arguments and fiery tirades

Jokes--some better than others

A lot of coffee

Two turkeys

A lot of improvised poems, stories, dances, with Wing It!

A couple of new friends

Some boundaries

A complete new one-act play and the first draft of a full-length play

Plans for a dance-theatre performance



Lesson Plans

To-Do lists which were never completed in the time frame I thought they should be

My bed (not every day though)

Indonesian squash soup

Chicken soup for friends who were ill

Rituals and ceremonies, especially with Beth and Ellen

Three cross-country journeys--one to NYC for my play, two to Massachusetts to see family

A lot of prayers

Contact--physical and emotional

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Three earthquakes in four days. The first one was Wednesday night. I was eating dinner with Ellen and Beth when there was a loud bang as if someone had dropped a refrigerator in the apartment above. Being clueless, I said that someone had probably dropped a refrigerator in the apartment above. Beth and Ellen were sure it was a quake.

Then last night, shopping in Borders, (I know, I know, but most of the time I support my wonderful neighborhood independent bookseller, Luan, whom I adore) there was another one.

And then one just now, about an hour ago. G, who keeps up on these things, says the epicenter is in Berkeley, it's the Hayward fault, and it may really blow, anytime now. The big one. I think of the tsunami last year, right after Christmas, and wonder if the general unease and minor depression I've been feeling could also be magnetic indication of something stirring beneath the earth's crust...

Friday, December 22, 2006

Bright sun in my room. I went to a presentation about the mysticism of Chanukah at my synagogue Wednesday night--the presentation was boring, (except for a beat-boxing Orthodox rabbi) but I was with my grrlz, Ellen and Beth, and we hung out at Ellen's house before and afterwards, which was wonderful. We're a little coven, we three; deep healing spiritual work takes place amid much laughter and teasing and eating. I can't repeat the things that were said, or they would have to have me killed, but it was the best antidote to mindless Christmas blah blah blah that I could think of.

G. showed up at the Chanukah thing also, at my invitation--he was half-dead because he's been working seven days a week for months, but he gamely got in a circle with a bunch of schleppy Jews, the only Black person in the room, and went through the motions of doing a Hora. I whispered in his ear, "You get major points for this," and he whispered back, "I better."

I sent off the manuscript for See How We Almost Fly to Jack Kornfield, who had sent me a copy of Rattle in which he named me as one of his favorite poets in an interview (!!) It would be great for me to do something at Spirit Rock, because clearly I need more of a spiritual practice--one of the questions Ellen asked (alright, they will have to hunt me down and kill me) was "What spiritual practices are you doing now that bring you vitality and joy?"

An excellent question. My answer: Interplay, writing, and swimming, but that's clearly not enough. My goal for this next year is to incorporate a movement based meditation--yoga or T'ai Chi into my daily life. And--gulp--I have to look at my living situation. This house is a bit Dickensian--big, old, cold in the winter. The PG&E person came and turned on the furnace, and then I couldn't turn it down, so accidentally turned it OFF, and now can't turn it on again. During the cold months I just stay in my room with the space heater, typing. Not the ideal endorphin-producing environment.

I wanted to fill this house with children, and a mate--but that hasn't happened. It should be a family house, it used to be a family house. Ellen and Beth suggested I rent it out to a family and go live by myself in a cozy cottage. Which makes a lot of sense except for the time, energy and disruption it would take to move. I hate moving. But I think they are right.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Coming Through the Storm

Yesterday, I cried off and on all day. It was long overdue.

My tears had this to teach me: that I cannot get away with eating sugar, (I have been slipping and sliding, cookies for dinner when I didn't have other food handy, chocolate here and there...), that I have to keep up a more rigorous schedule of exercising, even if I feel like hibernating; that my childhood feelings of never being good enough are still driving me, and no amount of publications or achievements will heal them, it's an inside job; and that it's harder for me to be a Jew in a Christian environment than I often acknowledge.

Last Saturday I fucked up all around, left, right, and center. I clean forgot that I was supposed to teach at The Writing Salon--I mean, it was not in my head, not in my datebook, nowhere in my consciousness.

At 1:00 that afternoon I had a date with my Little Sister, but got lost in the underpass streets where she lives--broken glass, SRO hotels, skinny starving-looking people pushing grocery carts and arrived half an hour late. As I parked my car, I was thinking, "Oh my God, this is no place for a child." When I got there she was still in her pajamas, and said she had tried to call me (my cell phone doesn't work) to tell me all her clothes were in the washer and dryer and she couldn't go out.

Instead of saying I'd come back in an hour that same day, I made an appointment with her for this coming Saturday. That may have been the right thing to do, or the wrong thing--I don't know. The truth is, I could feel, under the surface, that I was brewing up an emotional storm and needed to take care of that, but I didn't even know that I knew that at that moment.

Sunday I interviewed housemates, then went into SF to perform with Wing It! at a black, Pentecostal church which ministers mostly to street people, many of whom are struggling with drugs and alcohol. I was fine with the street people--it reminded me of when I used to work at Glide Memorial Church in the AIDS department. It was all the Jesus this and Jesus that I couldn't take.

The minister was a beautiful African American lesbian who clearly had great spiritual depth and wisdom; she spoke only of a loving God, and the service was all about love. Wing It! gave one of our better performances--everyone came out with bits of inspired, brilliance. Jonathan improvised a great blues on the Serenity Prayer, Michelle sang "Holy, holy, holy," which is one of my favorite songs, Susan tap-danced, Cynthia did a gorgeous chant, Julia did a great "Where's God?" lamentation, Phil did a rant, Enver danced and talked about his faraway family; Soyinka played flute and chanted, sang and danced.

I told the story of my father and Lucy, my three-year-old niece. They went to see my nephew Theo perform in the holiday pageant in Lexington. My dad has an unfortunate tendency to fall asleep every time he sits down. Comfortable chairs are dangerous to him. So Lucy was given the job of "making sure Papa stays awake."

Dad said she never took her eyes off him through the whole performance and every time his eyelids fluttered, she poked him. He couldn't even blink! She was on him. God is like that, I said, watching us and poking us so we don't fall asleep and miss the show. The room broke into applause--they really liked the analogy.

It felt good to say "God" in that space, without any "Jesus." Just God, the way we have him in Judaism, no intercessors, no screens, no other gods, just the Infinite, which we can't even fathom. Ungraspable, radiant, huge, spacious. Blinding. Christianity feels smothering and confused and muddy in its theology to me. It feels like a load of horseshit is being poured down my throat.

For me, "Jesus" as God diminishes the power and vastness of what God is. Jesus is a man. I can believe he was a great man, a prophet, a channel. But to make a man into God's only begotten son seems like blasphemy. Either we're all God's sons and daughters, or none of us are. My body closes up whenever I hear everyone invoking the name of Jesus as if it were the same as the name of God.

This is a very rational way of explaining what came next; nightmares and sleeplessness all night, floods of tears yesterday. A long, painful conversation with Phil, one of the co-founders of Interplay in which four years of my frustration of being intimately involved in such a Christian-centered organization poured out, not always sensitively (ie.e. I said many hateful things about Christianity.)

Afterwards I felt simultaneously ashamed and relieved. Ashamed because I want to be a religiously tolerant person--relieved because I told the truth. I'm not. I feel very accepting of Buddhism, Hinduism, even parts of Islam. I love Religious Science; at this time of year, Reverend E. always reminds us that we are celebrating the birth of Christ-consciousness within our own hearts, similar to Buddha-nature. I can totally align myself with that.

But I do hate traditional Christianity. How ugly it feels to say that. And how hard when a bunch of people in a group I love dearly--i.e. some of my fellow Wingers--subscribe to these beliefs which I find so repugnant.

And all at the same time, deep deep down, I know that this Christian/Jewish stuff is just a smokescreen, a trigger for my deepest core issue, which is an inner sense of being a bad person. The nightmares had been about my father saying he didn't like me. Of course that's ridiculous--my father loves me, brags about me, shares my poems with anyone who will listen, praises me, and spends quality time with me. I couldn't ask for more support.

It was my mother who used to say, "I love you, but I don't like you."

She said that because the way I see and operate in the world made her uncomfortable--my sexuality, my vulnerability, my coloring outside the lines. It scared the shit out of her.

And am I doing that now, to some of my Wing It! friends--saying I love you, but I don't like you because your religion, your way of being in the world, scares the shit out of me?

Can you love people and like them and not accept their philiosophy?

I finally called my father in tears, mid-morning, even though I had spoken to him twice on Sunday. I told him my dream and he said "Of course, I like you and I love you. I'm so proud of you. You've brought so many wonderful things into my life. That was Mom who said that; I never felt it."

I knew that already, (and I also know that the part of my mother that wasn't crazy was proud of me, too, the part that could be proud of anything.) When I express the part of me that is rageful and hateful, it kicks up so much grief for the part of me that tries so desperately to be "good" all the time (and that fails, constantly, to be perfect.)

It sets up a war within my own soul which takes every ounce of energy I have. I cried off and on, all day--talked to Phil, said terrible things about his religion, he was extraordinarily patient, considering (although he did get a little testy in moments.)

I made myself walk around the lake to get some sun and exercise even though I felt exhausted. It definitely felt like I might slide into the bad old days before Prozac and the no-sugar diet, when depression would just drain my energy so completely that I couldn't do anything besides the bare minimum.

But it isn't the bad old days--I have to remind myself of that. I understand depression better now, and how to be vigilant about my health. I called a few people, including G. who was moderately helpful, considering he's a problem-solving guy kind of guy. One thing he said that was helpful was that I should dwell on the good that I do, instead of on my mistakes--my stepmother had told me that this is a Buddhist meditation as well. Meditate on the acts of goodness and kindness large and small that you perform.

G also advised me to stay away from churches for a while--a good idea.

I still was haunted and dogged by the feeling of "badness." Went to the grocery store and told the clerk how beautiful she was--she beamed and blushed all over. She told me she was 62--she was beautiful, gorgeous cheekbones and deep eyes. I made okra for Masankho before he took off for D.C. and ate some myself--vegetables and meat, tryptophan, serotonin.

(In the middle of all this, I have to note, were two phone conversations with Jack Kornfield, the Jewish Buddhist teacher, who loves my poetry and is happy to blurb my next book, and also wanted to send me a publication he thought I would like, and to talk about having me come read or give a workshop at Spirit Rock sometime. Very wonderful new connection. And for all his fame and spiritual accomplishment, he was just funny and humble and regular, which of course is how spiritual teachers should be.)

Finally, at night, I went to the Solstice celebration I had told my beautiful student Olga about, because I didn't want to stand her up in case she came all the way from Pacifica. She was there, and we connected heart to heart and that felt wonderful. Later that night I called Enver who felt some of the same discomfort I did at the church, and I felt much less crazy. We will try to spend some time together over the weekend.

And today a new day, sunshine, and presents to buy for the nephews, checks to deposit, more housemate interviews, student work to critique and all the usual. Somewhere in all this craziness, a visit to Mama Ocean is called for. It is the promise of a bigger love that sustains me after all, above and beyond all these labels and theologies.

Friday, December 15, 2006

I met my Little Sister--a sweet 13-year-old girl--at her home which is practically underneath the freeway overpass. Tiny house; six kids; single mother. Not enough attention. I felt the weariness of her mother as she sat with me and the social worker, two white ladies, as she has sat through innumerable I.E.P. (individualized educational plan) meetings at school for her kids, as she struggles to get them launched without a mate to help her.

It felt like a real committment ceremony--we signed papers, and the social worker took a photo of me and the Little Sister standing in front of the Christmas tree. I'm glad I'm doing this--make a volunteer committment and stick to it has been one of my resolutions for the past three years, but I also felt a little weary, because of everything I went through with Ophelia and the other kids.

My thought was "I want my own child, and I want a baby. I want to hold a baby and feel its warm sweet weight against my chest."

I know I could sign up with Children's Hospital to be a :"cuddler"--one of those volunteers who holds crack babies and the like, but one big volunteer committment at a time. We'll see how this goes.

And what I didn't say about the weekend with Wing It!--wonderful as it was--was that I screamed--very loudly--in the middle of someone else's performance, when they were reading aloud from John Denver, some Christian allegorical thing. they hadn't meant it in any way to be offensive, of course. And I hadn't meant to scream. It just came out. It was a blood-curdling, full-throated scream, from the heart.

These people are like family to me--and half of them are Christian ministers of one ind r another, and the other half seem to be preacher's kids, or spouses, or involved in church in some deep way. And I can't stand it. I dislike Christianity--that's the nicest way I can put it.

My Jewish sister-friend E. says I'm a masochist for staying in the group, but she's wrong. (Yes, I am a masochist, but hat's another story.) I'm in the group because I love the work/play we do together, and I love the people. And because recovering play is absolutely crucial to my healing as a human being. We share common purpose, which is way more important than religious affiliation.

But I'm the only Jew there--and practically the only non-Christian--and sometimes it gets to me, especially at this time of year.

I felt a little overwhelmed by all of it, so drove myself up to Harbin Hot Springs for a quick, 24-hour restorative soak in the waters. It was good to be by myself for a day, and out of my usual routines and habits. Even the drive up, in silence (my car radio and tape deck are both broken--the car is on its last legs), through fog, on twisty mountain roads, which made me pay closer attention than usual, was good.

It gave me a chance to feel close to my child-self--she came, unexpectedly, to visit. She doesn't come when I'm in the midst of my adult busy-ness. And it was the part of my child-self that is centered, calm, and wisely innocent--not the wounded child, whom I am all too familiar with, but the Intact Child. The one who was never really affected by all the craziness.

I wanted to feel what I was feeling, which was sadness about not having children. Every time I get a "success" in my writing life--like the play getting taken somewhere--I am glad, but also sad. I feel like my life gets daily more wild, more off the beaten track of what a parents' life would have to be. The contradiction of having national recognition, but no money is okay with me personally, because I'm not doing it for the money, but not so fine for my life. A hippie life.

And of course I'm aware of the irony and the luxury of having those thoughts and feelings while up to my chin in warm, healing, restorative Harbin waters, which most parents of young children would give their eye teeth to be able to experience.

I did have the idea of asking one or two of my Wing It! brothers, gay men, if they would like to be adoptive co-parents with me--both men who have expressed a longing for children themselves. (G is not up for it.) The problem is that everyone I feel close to on that level is severely financially challenged themselves.

Men hit on me at Harbin. I am always surprised. I am 48 years old and weigh over 150 pounds. Come on, guys! I want to yell. Where were you when I was in my fertile and nubile thirties? Hiding in the bushes. Or I couldn't see them.

But the way they hit on me is funny--they want to talk to me about their deepest feelings and concerns. One man in the library, told me about this idea he has for writing "scripts" for long-married couples so they could figure out how to go on dates again, "Because when you've been married for a long time, things start to get routine." I swear this man was younger than I am!

I said that what makes romance romantic (to me) is the individuality of it--that it's personal, the other person knows you and what you would like, and goes to the trouble of suggesting or creating an experience based on your own world as a couple.

But it was a good reminder--maybe the hand of the Divine--not to get hung up on idealizing what other people have. (And in general, I do much better at that these days then I used to.)

Now I'm off to New College, to spend a couple of hours Zeroxing chapterws from different memoirs for the class reader, then I'll meet G in the city and we'll grab a bite to eat and go see Bobby.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

I got woken up this morning at 6:30 a.m. by a phone call from a woman with the Jewish Ensemble Theatre of Bloomfield, Illinois, who didn't realize I am on the West Coast. They have a festival in the spring where they do workshop productions of new plays and they want to do Saying Kaddish With My Sister!! Very exciting!!

I called my father, whose reaction was--get this--"Do I have to come?" For the record, Dad, YES!! You have to come!! AND--You have to enjoy it!!! Got that?

I am happy about it. Even though Spring is going to be pretty crazy--teaching a lot of classes, too many, probably, but I need to make money to go to Malawi next August with Wing It! and a weekend in Illinois is going to be a little much to throw into the mix, but still. It's great.

(Elsewhere in Luterman theatrical news, my nephew Theo, age seven, is an elf in the Lexington Players' Holiday Pageant. An elf, and I think also, a schoolchild. Anyway, no speaking lines, but his entire extended family, all 170 of them, will be on hand, flashbulbs popping, for when he walks on stage. As it should be.)

I remember when I first started sending Kaddish out, oh, about three or four years ago, and I was convinced that it was going to take the country by storm like a woildfire, or something delusional like that. And it didn't. In fact, nothing happened. Correction: two things happened. A Traveling Jewish Theatre did a staged reading in early '04, directed by Naomi Newman, which went very well, and then the Mirror Stage Company did a staged reading in late '05, directed by Suzanne Cohen, which also went well.

Then, nothing. Then, January 3, 2006, I got a call from the American Theatre of Actors. A "real production"--well, semi-real--the actors would be off book and incostume, there would be music and lights and rehearsals-- in New York City!! Whee-hoo! My whole family came! And it was...less than stellar, performance-wise. Allright, two of the key actors forgot their lines. A lot. They forgot whole scenes.

But we were in New York! And my whole family was there, plus a few dear friends from Wing It! And G and I walked across the Brooklyn Bridge, and I saw the Van Gogh paintings at the Met, and we rode in a pedi-cab and went to Harlem, and it was all wonderful, although embarrassing, because I badly wanted the "production" to be better than it was. But it really wasn't very good.

Then: more nothing. For a year. And now, this.

So, I'm finally beginning to get that this is the rhythm: work, work, work, work, send out, send out, send out, wait, wait, wait. Nothing, nothing, nothing, then something, then more nothing for an unbelievable long time, then something small which you are sure will turn into something large and glorious and life-changing, only it doesn't, it just is what it is. Then more waiting, which is surprising, because you thought at this point that you wouldn't have to wait anymore. But you do.

So: more work, work, work on some other project. Then--out of the blue--something unexpected. Which is better than watching the damn pot all the time to see if it boils.

So: beautiful, rainy, gray day, with a little something extra throiwn into the pot of cloud soup. I was supposed to go into New College today and photocopy the reader for the Memoir class, but instead I lay in bed till 11, sleeping in and then talking on the phone, and now it's too late to go because I have to meet my Little Sister at 4. And I'm going back to Harbin tonight to get my hair trimmed tomorrow, and soak in the tubs for a day, and maybe even get a little writing done, since all I do while I'm here is email, blog, and Sudoku.

Whoo-hoo! Bloomfield, Illinois! Bring it on!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Went to see the documentary about The Dixie Chicks, "Shut Up and Sing" at the Parkway. I had meant to call Enver to ask him if he wanted to see a movie, but I was too lazy/impulsive to call him.

It was a drizzly dark night and I'd lost myself in a bookstore, buying a book for the memoir class (The Liar's Club by Mary Karr,)and a play (Hurly Burly, by David Rabe, in case I end up teaching the playwriting class at the Writing Salon,) and Best American poetry 1989 because for some reason I'm a sucker for those Best American poetry books even though I generally only like 50% or less of the poems.

So it was an I'm spending the night by myself with a dead cell phone battery kind of evening, and at the last minute I decided to take myself to the movies. Where I found Enver whom I'd thought of calling earlier! It made me feel that despite the traffic and the urban sprawl, that the Bay Area can feel like a small town sometimes after all. And that telepathy works better than cell phones.

There were only about six people in the whole theatre. The movie was great! Inspiring. I had been dimly aware of the controversy, but since I don't listen to country music--or pop for that matter--I didn't really get into it. (I'm afraid G has spoiled me with his jazz collection.)

I still couldn't respond to the 2/4 beats and the driving plaintive rhythms--there's not enough surprise or subtlety for me--but I fell in love with the women, the quality and passion of their singing, their beauty, their anger, and especially their synergy as a trio.

(I did really appreciate Marti's fiddle playing. After the movie I went to their web site and listened to samples of all the cuts on their latest album. I liked "I Hope" the best--it had a spiritual anthem feeling.) (I feel kind of bad about being musically narrow.)

I could completely relate to the intimacy and committment they felt as a performing group, and I loved the strength they clearly derived from their bond. We should all be so gutsy. Maybe we could all be so gutsy if we had such tight community around us all the time.

The best part: they looked as though they were having FUN throughout the whole process--well, maybe not when the death threats came in, but they had a sense of their own power. In fact, they were literally playing with their own power. They knew their own value--they were the top-earning group at Sony records, something like that--but beyond their economic power, they knew the value of what lay within them. It made me proud to be a woman and an artist. It made me want to write lyrics for a song for them.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Glorious snowy weekend retreat with Wing It! in Truckee. Last time I was in snow that deep was March 2001, in Massachusetts, the week of my brother's wedding and my mother's death. I remember the whole world swathed in white then, adding a ghostly unreal feeling to the too-big experiences we were passing through.

With Wing It! this weekend we had some good play time, solid, and a lot of hanging out and eating. It's always something to actually live with these folks that I'm in such intimate relationship with--intimate and yet I don't see them much outside of practice--sort of like my family, whom I don't see much outside of family occasions and visits.

The most important people in my life I don't see very often--what's wrong with this picture?

I completely blew my no-sugar rule over the weekend and probably gained five pounds. Quiche, chili, cornbread slathered in butter, a million different kinds of chocolate, sugared popcorn, was too much fun to sit around in front of the roaring wood stove and eat and play board games and kibbitz and laugh. We went to a good Italian restaurant as well.

I thought I was dealing pretty well with holiday-itis and December, but actually I'm in a pretty reactive, Fuck-you-I'm-Jewish space. I wish I weren't--it's inconvenient, and annoying. It's hard to navigate this time gracefully. Nobody wants to be the Grinch. But the truth is, I want all the poinsetta plants to vanish off the face of the earth and I want December 25 to be just another damn day. G. helpfully pointed out that 90% of Americans are Christian, which is a fact, so that means suck it up, appreciate the dark and quiet and cold for what they are, and go to the movies a lot. Meanwhile, I still haven't sent out the kids' Chanukah presents yet. Bad auntie!!!

Good news: I got matched with a Little Sister, from the Big Brothers/Big Sisters organization. Can't wait to meet her! She's 13 years old. I won't say her name here--I'll just call her L.S. to preserve confidentiality.

Okay, now I've got to put an ad on Craigs List, looking for another housemate. Ouch! Ouf! Pray for someone stable and happy and stable and mature, and sane.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Hot coffee; sunny morning. Students gave me cards on the last day of teaching fifth grade at Murwood yesterday. They each copied out their favorite poem of the ones they had done with me. Here's Kilian Goltra's:

"This is a letter to chapped deserts
dry as bone, cracked as elephant
skin, unforgiving as lightning.

This is a letter to mirror reflective lakes
peaceful as the rain, calm as a deer,
blue as sapphire.

This is a letter to emerald green trees,
giant, high, swaying, digging bear-brown

This is a letter to salty oceans
peaceful, sparkling, giving..."

A full teaching week--not much writing for me, except in here. Wonderful, sacred, fulfilling interactions with students though; soul to soul.

Yesterday in Wing It! practice, Enver and I danced so deeply together, I lost my fear of death for a moment. I realized death is merely in the mind--it's the mind that fears dying--but we are molecules, and the molecules go on dancing. Maybe better after the brain is no longer trying to boss everything around.

It could be that simple.

Sunday I went with a friend to see a weeks worth of the 365 days project that Suzan-Lori Parks is doing, at the Museum of the African Diaspora. Parks wrote a play a day for a whole year--of neccessity they are short, sometimes dreamlike sequences. Basically, it was like sitting through a week of someone's dreams. My favorite was the very first one; a man is digging a hole. A woman comes out of the hole. They start talking, and that's how all the trouble starts.

Afterwards my friend Rebecca told me an amazing story about a friend of hers who was traveling in Asia when the tsunami hit last year; she took a train there, and with her techno expertise was able to set up a PayPal account and get money wired privately in right away. Rebecca and her friends organized in the States and sent money, supplies, toiletries, toys for children who had been orphaned. The friend just made herself useful and was able to help rebuild. She flew under the radar, an undercover Buddha.

Then I taught a Writing Salon class and afterwards one of my students stayed late to read aloud her essay and tell me how she came to meet her husband; another sacred story. (I have an idea for a "sacred stories" project. The ones I'm often privileged to hear. They would make a great little book.)

I'm getting ready to go have lunch with Suzanne Cohen, who directed the staged reading of Saying Kaddish at the Mirror Stage Company in Seattle last year, and talk to her about the first draft of my next play, the one I wrote this past summer, and about Mirror Stage, which just received a nice grant, and is a great, thought-provoking forum for new plays and playwrights. She was able to do magic with my script.

My hair is standing on end as I type this--I better go wet it down and plaster it with product before I leave the house!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

David's sick, so no hang-gliding today. Dream last night that my father had fathered a black family, and so I had several black half-sisters whom I'd met in childhood but forgotten. One had not forgotten me, and she was angry that I had forgotten her. A whole "shadow family"--as if my real family weren't big enough!

The dream also featured a young, black child telling me that the word "defunct" has now been revamped into a positive expression, meaning "de-funked." New trend in street slang--you read it here first!

I turned the last blog into an essay, printed it out, revised it five times, put it in an envelope and sent it to The Sun. DON'T TRY THIS AT HOME! Now I regret having done that. It could be way better. This is one of my worst faults; impatience, wanting to turn something into a product before it has had enough time to be a process yet. Skipping over the process part, as if I didn't know by now that the process is the reward. But sometimes I still don't know that, even though I've only been remindedof the lesson 100,000 times.

I'm reading There Is No Me Without You, by Melissa Fay Greene, about the AIDS crisis in Ethipia, and African orphans. It's ripping my heart out by the tendons. I definitely want all my students to read this book.

I also thought of another book I LOVE and want everyone in America to read, Of Water and the Spirit by Malidoma Some--that could count as a memoir too, but then there would be two memoirs set in Africa--would that be so bad? A third book I love and will probably include is The Color of Water by James McBride, about his Jewish mother who had twelve African American children by two different husbands and made sure every single one of them went to college while working factory jobs herself. Hmm, do we sense a theme here?